One of my clients and I were talking about oats the other day. She said she had to eat steel cut oats, and I asked, “why do they HAVE to be steel cut?”
She said well they’re healthier for you.
I told her that wasn’t necessarily true.
So, let’s talk oats – what’s the difference between them?
Steel-cut oats are minimally processed, meaning they have only been cut a few times from their original form of oat groats. They can take up to a half hour to cook.
Rolled or old-fashioned oats are oat groats that been steamed and rolled – this makes for faster cooking.
Quick-oats are rolled oats that have been chopped – even faster cooking.
Nutritionally, these are all made from oat groats, so they should contain the same number of calories, protein and fiber. However, the biggest nutritional differences will occur when you compare brands. Oats made from Quaker may differ from oats that are store brand.
The biggest difference is how your body digests steel cut versus rolled oats.
The steaming and rolling process that the rolled oat goes through make them easier on digestion in comparison to steel cut oats. This is because the outer layers of the steel cut oats have insoluble fiber, which is harder for digestive enzymes to breakdown (Rasane, Jha, Sabikhi, Kumar, & Unnikrishnan, 2015). While steel cut may help with satiety, they may also result in bloating (Rebello, O’Neil, & Greenway, 2016). To further help with oat digestion you can soak your oats overnight or slow cook them. Here’s how I make mine overnight.
So why does it seem like there are more differences nutritionally?
Serving size matters. I’ve seen some brands list the serving size as a ½ cup of dry oats where I’ve seen other’s list it as 1/3 cup. The serving size dictates the caloric and nutritional value.
Add-ins and topping make a difference. I buy plain rolled oats because sometimes I actually enjoy plain oat meal, but mostly because I enjoy the chance to experience with different toppings and flavors. I love using protein powder in my oats – it adds protein and flavor, which allows me to add minimal toppings. I also love berries and peanut butter in my oats.
If you look at some of the instant oatmeal’s available in the store you’ll see packets that include high sugar flavors like maple brown sugar, apple cinnamon, etc.
Below is a comparison of steel cut oats, rolled oats and apple cinnamon from Quaker Oats.
You’ll notice that steel cut and rolled oats are pretty much the same, except steel cut has 2g of insoluble fiber, which comes from the lack of rolling the oat groats (soluble v. insoluble fiber). Comparing these two to the Quaker Instant: Apples and Cinnamon flavor, you may noticed that the serving size is the same weight, but as you scroll through the table you’ll also see an additional 6g of carbohydrates, but 12g of sugar – this is because a portion of oats have been replaced with sugar, spices and apple pieces, all of which add weight and sugar.
Really what this comes down to is asking yourself 1. What texture do you prefer? 2. How much time do you have?
If you like oats in general, they have a lot of benefits like the vitamins listed above but can also help with maintaining a healthy cholesterol level as well as satiety throughout the day, which can assist with dietary adherence.
Remember, there’s a lot of marketing tactics used to make us as consumers believe something is much healthier than it truly is. Don’t get fooled. Read labels, ask questions and do a little digging on your own.
Lastly, how do you take your oats?
Rasane, P., Jha, A., Sabikhi, L., Kumar, A., & Unnikrishnan, V. S. (2015). Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods – a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 662-675.
Rebello, C. J., O’Neil, C. E., & Greenway, F. L. (2016). Dietary fiber and satiety: the effects of oats on satiety. Nutrition Reviews, 131-147.
What happens when I find things in the pantry I forget I had? I start skimming through Pinterest so I can make it a fun consumable and get it out of the pantry. Today’s adventure was with a can of pumpkin puree. In the fall I always have a can on hand and I won’t lie I was surprised when I found a can today. After going through some pins, I got an idea of the basis for a protein bite or protein ball, let’s be real though, 5g of protein doesn’t make something a protein snack. It does, however, support the well rounded nutrition in a snack, but I just can’t call it a protein ball.
So with a can of pumpkin, some protein and a canister of oats I made some magic in the kitchen.
What You’ll Need
- 120g or 1.5 cups of oats
- 264g of canned pumpkin
- 1 scoop of protein – I used a sample of Sun Warrior vanilla vegan protein
- 30g of 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
- 3T of Splenda
- 2tsp of vanilla extract
- a few dashes of cinnamon
- In a medium mixing bowl, weigh out your oats.
- In the same bowl, weigh out your canned pumpkin. I added pumpkin a little at a time until the oats were sticking together.
- Mix in Splenda, cinnamon and vanilla extract. I added cinnamon a little at a time until I got the taste I wanted. At this point it tastes like an unsweetened pumpkin pie mix.
- Add in protein powder. As I’m using up the pantry, I used a sample of vegan protein powder. You can use any protein powder. A basic flavor may be best like cinnamon roll, vanilla or snickerdoodle. I don’t think there would be an issue using whey, casein or a blend. *If you find that the casein or blend protein makes the mix hard to combine, add a tablespoon or water or two.
- Using your hands, mix in coconut flakes.
- When thoroughly combined roll into a ball and divide into your preferred servings. I wanted to keep the macros under 30g of carbohydrates per serving, so I made 5 equal larger portions.
- After weighing out the total serving fell free to make into small pieces. Each larger portion made 4 pumpkin and oat bites.
- Chill to keep fresh. Because these are a no bake, minimally additive food, please keep in mine that they may mold if kept too long.
Of course before I could chill the container, JP felt the need to take one to try – a row of 4 was a serving. I put pumpkin spice peanut butter on mine, but you could have them plain or with a different nut butter. JP and I agreed they tastes like an unsweetened version of pumpkin pie. Cinnamon and vanilla was subtle, but tasty.
Macros per serving without peanut butter: 5.9F/22.4C/7.6P
I hope you enjoy!
For my refeed I planned some things that I don’t typically get to eat in the same day or get a chance to eat often. I had mentioned before that I’ve been adding oats into my diet as a way to change up my breakfast and this morning I made Mexican hot chocolate overnight oats, but I added peanut butter because peanut butter makes everything better.
I used my basic overnight oats recipe that I shared a few weeks ago, but here’s what I added.
2 tablespoons of chocolate PB2
When the oats were still dry, I added the PB2 so I could mix it in thoroughly.
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
I add cinnamon to my basic recipe as well, but it’s more of a dash. For this recipe I added an exact amount to get the spice that I wanted.
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Mexican hot chocolate is hot cocoa with a kick and aside from cinnamon, the kick comes from peppers. Historically, cocoa wasn’t eaten and to drink it herbs and spices need to be added so it wouldn’t taste so bitter. I added cayenne pepper on top of my oats for this kick. Some recipes I’ve seen for from scratch Mexican hot chocolate call for chile pepper.
Mixed in, the oats are spicy without making your mouth burn up. I know some people say they can’t handle spicy foods, but this is just enough and with Trader Joe’s PB cups this was a perfect way to start my refeed day.
The only thing that I can say about overnight oats is that I wish I had made these sooner. I started making them last month. I believe it’s because I was nervous about having too much nut butter in the container and going out of my macros. Well, I won’t lie, to ensure that I got all of the cashew butter mixed into my oats that I made last night, I scrapped the last bit of the container and weighed it. The put it back in the container. Obviously, not the point of using the jar, but overnight oats can be measured or not. It’s your preference.
This is my basic recipe for overnight oats. You can add whatever you want, just remember that macros and calories change as the brands or ingredients change, but you’re smart enough to figure that out.
What You’ll Need:
- 1/2 cup rolled or steal cut oats – I used rolled oats because nutritionally there’s not much difference
- 5 ounces of almond milk – I had vanilla Almond Breeze on hand
- 1/2 scoop protein
- cinnamon – optional
- vanilla extract – optional
Measure out a 1/2 cup of oats (or a serving according to your label) in your container.
Add 5 ounces or 2/3 cup of almond milk (you can use any milk, I have a dairy sensitivity to certain products). To measure I used a liquid measuring cup.
Add a little cinnamon to taste and vanilla extract. Stir until cinnamon appears to be well mixed. Add protein powder if desired.
Place in fridge for overnight because you know, they’re overnight oats. I’m sure they could sit for a few hours if you wanted them for later in the day, but overnight allows them to really absorb the milk.
This is the basic recipe that I follow every time I make over night oats. Most oats I will add a nut butter. I keep a million different kinds and flavors in my pantry, and they all have very different nutritional value. So it depends on the day as to which one I use. Below are some photos of oats I have made in the past few weeks. I’ve listed the extra ingredient and the macros for them.
Side note: I add half a scoop of whey/casein blend to my oats for more protein. This makes them thicker, you may need to adjust liquid for protein powders. I have found 2/3 cup is enough for thickness.
Have fun with your flavors!
2T Caramel French Toast Cashew Fit + FF Whip and Cinnamon 17.8F/42.5C/15.5P