If you don’t know by now, I have been an avid FAN of oats since I started my wellness journey in September 2017 and it’s been a part of the #DetoxWithJua Program since inception and you absolutely cannot blame me for it.
It’s no secret that oats are nutritionally dense and a part of a healthy diet, it fills you up for longer which often encourages weight loss, it is incredibly versatile, convenient and relatively easy to prepare!
However, if you’re new to the world of oats, deciding which kind to use and buy can be really confusing because there are so many options and types in the market. We have rolled oats (old fashioned oats), steel-cut, instant oats, whole oat groats and quick oats just to name a few. The most frequent question I get is which oats do I prefer and which is nutritionally dense. The type you should go for depends on a number of factors such as cooking time, flavour, texture can significantly differ and this will all boil down to your preference.
- All oats have the SAME NUTRITIONAL PROFILE.
- The main differentiator between the different oats is how much processing each of the oats has undergone which also impacts its cooking time.
- The less processed the oats, the more the cooking time.
- The more processed the oats, the slightly lesser their nutritional content compared to the less processed.
Below is the ranking of different oats types from least processed all the way down to the most processed type of oats:
- Whole Oat groats – This is the oat grain in its most whole, intact form. It’s the most nutritionally dense and it takes the longest to prepare with cooking time being 30-45 minutes.
- Steel Cut Oats – Steel cut oats are exactly as the name implies: steel-cut. They are produced by chopping the whole oat groat into 2-4 pieces with a steel blade. This gives them a bit of a chewier texture than the whole oat groat. Steel-cut oats usually take between 20-30 minutes to cook.
- Rolled Oats – This is one of the most popular forms of oats, as it is incredibly versatile. Rolled oats are made by steaming the oat groat, then rolling it flat between steel rollers. It takes 10-15 minutes to cook. It is best used for overnight oats, pancakes, baked goods, muesli, granola, granola bars, energy bites, or even smoothies. The original Jungle Oats (red and green) falls under rolled oats.
- Quick Oats – Quick oats are a variation of rolled oats. They are also steamed, but they are often rolled thinner, and sometimes chopped into smaller pieces, giving them a larger surface area and therefore a shorter cooking time. Quick oats cook in 1-3 minutes in the microwave and are great for quick breakfasts, as well as baked goods, overnight oats, smoothies, granola, energy bites, and pancakes. Quick oats usually have a mushier texture, so keep this in mind when choosing the type of oats for your cooking application.
- Instant Oats – Instant oats are the most processed version of rolled oats. After steaming and rolling, they are often cooked, dried, and chopped into smaller pieces. Instant oats cook the quickest and only need a soak in hot water or a quick zap in the microwave to be ready for consumption. Jungle South Africa has this option.
- Oat Bran – Oat bran is a by-product of oat manufacturing. It is the outer layer of the oat groat, so technically, it’s not a whole grain, but it is still nutritious due to its high fibre content. Jungle South Africa has this option.
ALL oats types are healthy, even instant oats are whole grains and are good sources of fibre and plant-based protein. Oats is high in energy, high in fibre, LOW GI, naturally, sodium-free contains beta-glucan fibre which helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels and heart disease and it promotes weight loss. The nutritional aspect only varies slightly between each type of oat, with the major differences being cooking time, texture, and flavour. Oats is and will remain my best go-to source of breakfast cereal because of its superpower nutritional profile!
Ultimately, the type of oat you choose is completely up to you. If you prefer a sweet, nutty taste and chewy consistency, try steel-cut oats. If you like your oatmeal creamy and smooth, then instant oats are your game. And if time is a factor, instant oats make a perfectly suitable healthy breakfast or quick energizing snack.