Oat is a very nutritious choice for healthy living, and if you eat it, there is a misconception saying it shouldn’t be instant oatmeal. In comparison, instant oatmeal contains both soluble and insoluble fiber found in natural oats. This aids digestion and softens the stools for easy passage. Aside from this fact, having a bowl of oatmeal can give good doses of vitamins and proteins.
To some extent, instant oatmeal is the same as regular oats, only different because they have been par-cooked, dried, and preserved. They have tagged food for convenience rather than a healthy choice. But adding fresh fruits to an instant oatmeal breakfast boosts your vitamins and fiber intake for the day. They come in tin cans, big to smaller sachet for handy use. And we see instant oats added to many things today, from granola to cookies and everyday foods. Read on to learn more about this intelligent way to enjoy oats regularly.
What is instant oatmeal?
Before instant oats get made, they exist naturally as whole grains called oat groats. These types are not available for purchase since they are harder to cook this way. Instant oatmeal is processed oat groats such as steel-cut oats (when oat groats become broken into fragments), then rolled oats (oat groats that cooked for long and rolled into thin pieces).
Instant oatmeal is rolled oats, broken into tiny pieces after steaming and drying. So it becomes flakes of oat groats, and it is much easier to cook. Average instant oatmeal should cook in two minutes because they lack much texture, making it an excellent food for dashing out in the morning or a quick lunch or dinner fix.
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Are oatmeal different from instant oatmeal?
Oats are healthy grain plants that have become widely used for several things. They become oatmeal when they get boiled, a nutrient-packed breakfast of porridge most people like to have. The only problem is that whole oat can be hard to cook because they are strong and take longer. Hence the introduction of instant oats also called quick oats and is faster to cook.
Instant oats go through different processes to get manufactured. First off, whole oats are partially boiled/cooked, then dried; this helps prepare quickly. Sugar, flavors, and preservatives become added for branding. They are frowned upon because of being highly processed due to the different stages it passes through.
The processing of instant oatmeal makes them different from whole oatmeal. Both are equally beneficial health-wise. There is also the difference in texture, as instant oats can be mushier because it is already pre-cooked.
The healthiest instant oatmeal
It is always best to eat un-processed meals; in this case, the oats must go through a bit of process before they are ready. So, the healthiest choice will be the ones with added sugars and sweeteners. You can also go for those without flavor, as they only add unwanted sweetness to your instant oatmeal.
Checking for the type of preservative used is also essential, as some may use chemical elements to keep the oats fresh. Suppose you can go for the brands without such preservatives as they are healthier. So, when next you go shopping for oatmeal, be sure to read the ingredients contained on the label. And remember to go for the brand with less of every added unnatural element.
Instant oatmeal is good for you only when it contains
- A maximum of 6 grams of sugar per serving. If you must buy the sweetened ones.
- Below 200 mg of sodium preservatives per serving.
- From 3 grams and above fiber per serving.
Top instant oatmeal picks
Based on reviews and expert input from a dietician, here are some of the top instant oatmeal in the market. Making your choice, however, depends on your taste and personal preferences.
1. Nature’s Path organic instant oatmeal
This oatmeal contains all-natural oats without any harmful preservatives. It comes in eight handy packs for a quick portioned meal, and different flavors are available. Per serving, it delivers 40 grams of whole grains and 6 grams of proteins, with vitamins and minerals making it a complete food.
2. Umpqua Oats oatmeal cup
The idea of instant oatmeal is to give you fast and hearty food, and this pro gets upgraded by an oatmeal cup. Umpqua oats come in a microwaveable mug packed with protein and fiber. They are six flavors available, with the maple pecan being the crowd’s favorite. If you can’t decide, they are a variety pack of two flavors.
3. Quaker Low sugar variety pack instant oatmeal
No one can mention Instant oatmeal without Quaker brands as they offer a wide assortment of oatmeal found in almost every household. The low sugar variety is one of the best options to add extra ingredients to your heart’s content. And this variety pack contains favorite flavors in pre-portioned packets.
Is whole oatmeal still the choice?
If you choose to stick to oatmeal rather than instant oatmeal, here are ways you can cook them faster.
- Cook oats overnight: There are two overnight methods to soften oats, cooking quicker with unlocked nutrients. For rolled or steel-cut oats, you can cook them for 2 minutes and cover them overnight. You can also place the oats in a jar, add water, and leave them to sit overnight. Milk, yogurt, and spices will also work with this soaking method.
- Using a crockpot is another excellent way to have cooked oatmeal in the morning. Allow your oatmeal to simmer on the stove overnight.
- If you know, you won’t have time to wait for the oatmeal to get cooked correctly. You can always cook when you have free time and reheat when ready to eat.
How to make instant oatmeal healthier
Adding other nutritious food items to a bowl of instant oatmeal porridge can go a long way in improving it. Milk is the clear insert, but fruits and other spices will blend well with it and add to its health benefits.
1. Add lean proteins to your oatmeal: many protein sources will improve oatmeal breakfast. Add the ones that will taste good with the meal, and protein powders are a great choice to get the job done.
2. Combine spices to your instant oatmeal: Spices such as cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, and nutmeg are very stimulating to the body and have a pleasant smell. They are much healthy insert than buying flavored instant oatmeal.
3. Fresh and dried fruits insert: Fruits add a nice texture to the porridge meal and taste good when eaten together. They are one of the easiest ways to make oatmeal healthier, and you can add a wide range of fruits. After cooking the oats, throw in fruits such as berries, mangoes, apples, and any other fruit you like.
4. Soaking your Instant oats can make the difference: when you soak grains, they unlock the nutrients in them. Before cooking your instant oatmeal, soak it in warm water for 12 hours or more. You can add lemon to the water to reduce antinutrients.
5. Add healthy fats: adding healthy fats like nuts can help to elevate the taste of your instant oatmeal. Choose from the assortment that you love and mix it with your meals.
6. Wheat flour inserts: when cooking instant oatmeal, you can add wheat flour to help unlock the nutrients. They also increase the fiber level of the meal.
Oatmeal and weight gain
Oatmeal has several benefits to the body and can be a great way to lose some weight. Rather than the widespread belief that instant oatmeal will make you gain weight, it is the reverse when used correctly. You can also take advantage of that eating oatmeal can reduce your blood sugar cholesterol levels.
A whole bowl of oatmeal porridge can be very filling and will stay in your stomach for longer hours. This means you may not have to eat much of other foods, which equals fewer calories. If you can maintain that, you are well on your way to shedding some pounds.
Instant oatmeal does work on its own, once eaten since it contains a substance called beta-glucan, to slow the process of riding the meal. It is responsible for feeling full for long hours. This substance also aids the production of a peptide hormone in the gut. Insufficient levels balance out the feeling of hunger, which will reduce food intake and weight gain.
Instant oatmeal recipes
Here are some recipes you will love to try:
- Instant pot oatmeal: Add water into a pot, a cinnamon stick, and salt before adding your oats. Allow it to cook for 3-5 minutes and sprinkle some fruit garnishing.
- Savory dish: Boil your oatmeal with scallions, heavy cream, and butter for a few minutes. Once ready, you can add fried eggs, cheese, and bacon.
- Vegan oatmeal: Place your instant oats in a combination of water, coconut milk, and almond milk. Allow to cook and add fruits and some sweetened coconut flakes.
- Chocolate oatmeal: Cook your instant oats in water and cocoa powder, add a drizzle of maple syrup for garnishing. Top your meal with chocolate chips and banana slices.
As far as nutrition goes, instant oatmeal is good for you. It is a great way to lose weight (or maintain it) because it does not contain starch. You also have the option of mixing it up with other ingredients to make it more nutritious or exotic as you prefer. You may also like to read, Lessons from The Tinder Swindler: signs of an online dating scammer.