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What are healthy oatmeal options?

Oats are rich in fiber, low in fat, and contain protein and iron. It is a very inexpensive alternative to cold cereal for a healthy breakfast. But how do you know which type of oatmeal is best? Learn about the different types of oatmeal and if that packet of instant oatmeal is really a good option.

Shouldn’t I have those instant oatmeal packets?

Instant oatmeal contains oats that are already cooked and dry before rolling. Instant oatmeal comes in the convenience of single-serving packages. Easy, fast and with fun flavors. But when you read the label, you see that many varieties of instant oatmeal contain a lot of sugar, up to several teaspoons in a package. Individual packages can be very expensive.

To find a good option, some varieties of instant oatmeal are aimed at kids, women, or calorie counters. Some of the oats that are marketed as “low-sugar” have artificial sweeteners, and the fun-shaped children’s oats contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Even the “all natural product” can contain too much sugar, so check the Nutrition Facts label carefully.

But you can still make oatmeal quickly without the expense and sugar of individual packets.

What are the best healthy oatmeal options?

Instead of expensive instant oatmeal packets, there are three healthy oatmeal options:

Quick cook oats, rolled oats and steel cut.

To understand the options, here is how oatmeal is made: the oat grains are peeled and steamed. These whole grain “grains” are the inner part of the oat grain and are cut in different ways to make different types of oats.

1. Quick cooking oatmeal

Quick-cook oats are grains that are cut into chunks and rolled finer to reduce cooking time. They take about a minute to cook on the stove and a minute in the microwave.

2. Old-fashioned oatmeal or rolled oats:

Old-fashioned or rolled oats are oat grains that are steamed and squashed. Oat flakes cook in five minutes on the stove and three minutes in the microwave.

3. Steel cut oats:

Considered by some to be the tastiest oats, steel cut oats contain grains that are cut into pieces with steel blades. They take about an hour to cook from start to finish and are best prepared on the stove. Try making a pot on the weekend and refrigerate individual servings to eat during the week.

For healthy oatmeal recipes with the three good oatmeal options, visit

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