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Oats: Economical and Healthy

Oats: Economical and Healthy

AUBURN, Alabama—Oats are an economical whole grain that can help with improving your overall health.

High Fiber Content

“Oat products have high soluble fiber content, which aids digestion, said Donna Shanklin, a Human Sciences Extension regional agentl  “They reduce cholesterol levels, which makes them good for heart health.”

These whole grains are also high in protein. Shanklin says, to obtain the heart benefits of oats, the product must contain at least three grams of soluble fiber. It is the soluble fiber beta glucan that scientists attribute the cholesterol-lowering benefits.

Alena Haurylik shutterstock_249309160-oatmeal-with-berries.jpg

The most common forms purchased are rolled and instant oats and products with oat bran.

Oat Products

Here is a list of some oat products:

  • Groats: whole kernels of the oat grain.
  • Steel-cut: groats cut into a few pieces to speed cooking time; also called Scottish or Irish oats.
  • Rolled: groats that have been steamed to soften them, then flattened with a roller and dried; also called old-fashioned oats.
  • Instant: flatter rolled oats, chopped to speed cooking time.
  • Oat bran: the nutritious outer layer of the oat kernel.
  • Oat flour: rolled oats or groats ground into flour; can be used as a thickener; easy to make in a blender or coffee grinder.

Most Americans have eaten oatmeal, either boiled on the stove with lots of sugar and butter or microwaved in instant packets. Convenience has its cost.  One serving of old-fashioned (1/2 cup dry) costs about 19 cents, whereas a packet of instant may cost 50 cents.

Read Labels on Oat Products

“Reading the label is critical when you are purchasing oat products,” added Shanklin. “Always check the fiber listing if you are purchasing the product for its oat content.”

The ingredients are listed from high- to-low contents in the food.

  • Rolled Oats (Old-Fashioned or Quick) have 150 calories, 4 grams fiber, and 5 grams protein, serving size ½ cup of dry oats
  • Instant Oats Maple and Brown Sugar have 160 calories, 3 grams fiber, and 4 grams protein (serving size 1 packet)
  • Cheerios have 140 calories, 3 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein, (serving size 1 cup with ½ cup of skim milk)
  • Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted have160 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein (serving size ¾ of cup, with ½ cup of skim milk)
  • Lucky Charms have 110 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein per serving size (serving size ¾ of cup with ½ cup of skim milk)

Trade names are used only to give specific information. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System does not endorse or guarantee any product and does not recommend one product instead of another that might be similar.

Check the sugar and fat levels of oat products before purchasing. A product may have them in it but it may be high in calories, sugar and fat. The oat content may be good for reducing cholesterol but the calories, sugar and fat may be hurting your ability to lose excess weight.

Shanklin offers this easy recipe using rolled oats.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Recipe

1 cup water

1/4 cup apple juice

1 apple, diced

2/3 cup rolled oats

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup milk


Place water, juice and apples in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Stir in the rolled oats and cinnamon. Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thick.
Serve hot with milk. 1 serving

Per serving: 217 calories; 4.3 grams fat; 36.1 grams carbohydrates; 7.8 grams protein; 10 mg cholesterol; 57 mg sodium (https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/79828/apple-cinammon-oatmeal/)

About Donna Reynolds