Consuming oats for breakfast is a perfect way for students to gain strength and energy to carry them through their morning classes. They are great on their own as a steaming bowl of freshly cooked oatmeal or added to recipes for extra nutrition.
Oats are harvested in the fall but available throughout the year. They are high in dietary fiber and protein, and rich in minerals, antioxidants, and nutrients. Regular consumption of whole grains, such as oats, helps in the prevention and maintenance of heart disease and diabetes. They stabilize blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, help the body fight off infection, and are protective against childhood asthma and obesity.
After harvesting, they are roasted, which is how oats gain part of their distinctive flavour. Different types of processing are then used to produce the various types of oat products that we see in our grocery stores.
Oat groats: un-flattened kernels that are good for using as a breakfast cereal.
Steel-cut oats: featuring a dense and chewy texture, they are produced by running the grain through steel blades that thinly slice them.
Old-fashioned oats (aka large flake oats): have a flatter shape that is the result of being steamed and then rolled.
Quick-cooking oats: processed like old-fashioned oats, except they are cut finely before rolling.
Instant oatmeal: produced by partially cooking the grains and then rolling them very thin. Then, sugar, salt and other ingredients and flavourings are added to make the finished product.
Oat bran: the outer layer of the grain that resides under the hull. While oat bran is found in rolled oats and steel-cut oats, it may also be purchased as a separate product that can be added to recipes or cooked to make a hot cereal.
Oat flour: used in baking, it is oftentimes combined with wheat or other flours when making leavened bread.
Quick Serving Ideas:
A great way to start the day! Add your favorite nuts, seeds, and fruit (fresh or dried) to a bowl of hot oatmeal.