Nutrition Spotlight: Oatmeal

From steel cut and rolled, to instant and old-fashioned, the world of oatmeal can be surprisingly daunting. While all types start as groats, the processing is what differentiates them as well as their cooking times and texture.

  • Steel Cut oats are often considered the “king of oatmeal” as they have the least amount of processing. Their groats are simply cut into pieces making them the slowest to digest and require the longest cooking time.
  • Rolled or Old-Fashioned oats are first softened with steam, then pressed flat making them cook faster and able to hold more liquid. They are more convenient to make and slightly lower in fiber than steel cut oats.
  • Instant oats are the most processed and are pre-cooked, dried, and pressed allowing them to cook the fastest and the most likely to become mushy.

When it comes to nutrition facts, there are only slight differences in calories and fiber. However, given the differences in processing, their rate of breakdown and effect on blood sugar is different. For these reasons, steel cut or rolled oats are your best bet. Cooking either type in advance and freezing is an easy way to enjoy that whole grain goodness with ease!


Sarah Mattison Berndt, MS, RD, CD
Owner Fit Fresh Cuisine & Hybrid Athletic Club

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