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Oats

1 Food 5 Ways: Oats

Ever since someone had the genius idea of putting rolled oats into cookies, the whole grain has been climbing out of the cereal bowl and into myriad sweet and savory dishes. This versatile comfort food is packed with protein, B vitamins, calcium, iron, and beta-glucan, an especially heart-healthful form of fiber that has been shown to lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels. Read on for tasty new ways to get the good-for-you grain into your meals.

Nutritional Profile
1 cup of cooked oatmeal contains:

� 166 calories
� 6 g protein
� 4 g fiber
� 1 mg manganese
� 13 mcg selenium
� 63 mg magnesium

4 Steps to a Perfect Bowl of Oatmeal
Oatmeal lovers are picky about their porridge. Just ask Matthew Cox, marketing manager for Bob's Red Mill and reigning champion of the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championships, held in Scotland each year. Here are his tips for a batch that always comes out "just right."

1. Use filtered water Good, clean water is just as important to oats as it is to coffee.

2. Add a little salt A 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a pot of oatmeal acts as a catalyst to bring out the flavor of the oats.

3. Simmer, don't boil Reduce the heat to low, put the lid on, and let the water barely bubble with the oats. The low heat helps prevent scorching on the bottom.

4. Stir occasionally Give oats a stir every now and then to help release the starch so the grains cook up creamy.

OAT-LOVER'S GLOSSARY

OAT GROATS Whole oats that have been toasted, hulled, and cleaned. In addition to being cooked as a hot cereal, groats can be used to make a chewy grain dish similar in texture to spelt or farro.

STEEL-CUT/PINHEAD/IRISH/SCOTTISH OATS Toasted oat groats that have been broken into three to four pieces.

ROLLED/OLD-FASHIONED OATS Groats that are steamed and rolled flat for quicker cooking. Rolled oats or quick-cooking oats work best in baked goods. For oatmeal that's both creamy and chewy, look for thick-cut rolled oats.

QUICK-COOKING OATS Oat groats that have been broken into pieces then rolled flat so that they will cook in four to five minutes. The tender choice for baked goods.

INSTANT OATS Thin, precooked rolled oats that need only be rehydrated with a hot liquid.

Comments on this Article

I love oatmeal - it's satisfying and nutritious. Here's a simple & yummy recipe for a savory oatmeal dish. We call it "Spanish Peasant Soup" and it's a favorite pantry stand-by for a 5 minute dinner. 1) Slowly toast about a cup of oatmeal over a low heat in a non-stick pan (being careful not to burn it). When it starts to brown and smell nutty set it aside in a bowl. 2) Add olive oil and lots of garlic to the pan. When garlic begins to soften, add a big handful of chopped parsley (or not). Then add a can of diced tomatoes and 2-3 cups of veggie stock. 3) Bring up the heat, add the toasted oatmeal, stir, cook a few minutes and call it dinner. Yum!