Choose oatmeal as a whole-grain healthy choice

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Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Bates County, University of Missouri Extension

Although most of us know we are supposed to eat more whole grains, it can be difficult to know what foods have 100 percent whole grain.

Oatmeal is a whole grain because it contains all of the parts of the oat grain including the bran, endosperm and germ. The interesting thing is that when we eat the regular oatmeal most of us grew up with, we aren’t eating the grain in its original form. We are usually eating rolled oats. Rolled oats have been steamed and flattened. That process decreases the cooking time so old-fashioned oatmeal can be prepared in 10 to 25 minutes. Quick-cooking oats that can be prepared in 3 to 5 minutes have been cut even more finely to reduce cooking time.

Some people prefer steel-cut oats. The primary difference between steel cut oats and rolled oats is the shape of the grain. Steel-cut oats are not flattened — the grain is cut into thirds and then packaged for sale. When preparing steel-cut oats, it’s best to use 4 cups of water to each cup of oats. The cooking time for steel-cut oats is 30 to 40 minutes. Steel-cut oats have a chewy texture and hearty flavor.

A popular product in many households is instant oatmeal…

To learn more about the health benefits of oatmeal and which type is best, read the full version of this article at http://missourifamilies.org/features/nutritionarticles/nut395.htm

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