January is National Oatmeal Month, though we rarely need a reason to celebrate the power of the Oat!
Oats are incredibly beneficial for children's health. Firstly, this grain contains plenty of fiber. Unlike other grains, high-fiber oatmeal is digested slowly, keeping kids fuller for longer. Additionally, oats are full of vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants.
Different Types of Oats
When you look at oats on the shelf, you're likely to see many different varieties. So, what distinguishes one type of oat from another? It's all in how they are processed, or made easier to cook and eat. Let's take a look at the different types of oats.
- Groats, or whole oats: After the husk is removed, the whole oat is large. It would take a long time to cook to make an oat groat ready to eat, which is why you usually only find them for sale at specialty health food stores. Fun fact: any whole grain is referred to as a groat, and wheat groats in particular are popular in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines.
- Steel Cut: Also known as Irish oatmeal, this refers to oatmeal which has been chopped into several pieces. These smaller and regular pieces cook faster than groats and do not require soaking.
- Stone Ground: Called Scotch or Scottish Oats, these groats are, as their name suggests, ground with a stone. This creates a variety of sizes to the oat pieces, and often results in a creamier oatmeal than steel cut.
- Rolled Oats: These are the oats most people are familiar with. Old fashioned style are steamed groats which are then flattened to make flakes, while quick or instant oats are steamed and flattened even more, resulting in the fastest cook times.
- Oat Flour: When completely ground, oat flour can be used as a thickening ingredient in soups or sauces, and is an excellent addition to heartier muffins, cookies, and breads.
While all types of oats contain the same health benefits, which kind of oat you choose will determine how they need to be cooked, as well as the mouthfeel. It can take some experimenting to find your favorite variety!
Because oatmeal is so nutritious, delicious, and time consuming, it's no wonder that parents have been trying to find the best solution to include it in their kids breakfasts without completely throwing off their morning schedule. So, what is the solution? A make-ahead recipe for overnight oats.
Not only does this recipe save time in the morning and make versatile, tasty breakfasts for the whole family, the long preparation time makes the oats themselves easier to digest and the easiest on tiny tummies.
Ingredients for Overnight Oats
- Oats: Start with old fashioned style rolled oats. As you perfect your recipe, you can experiment with other oat types.
- Milk: Whether you use dairy milk, plant-based milk, or nut milk, this will provide the moisture necessary to prepare the oats, add a creamy texture to your meal, and a rich flavor.
- Yogurt: Another thick and creamy addition to the recipe, just be careful to control how much sugar you are adding with this ingredient.
- Chia Seeds: Chia seeds add extra thickening, as well as a boost of nutrition.
- Sweetener: We advise using maple syrup or honey to add sweetness and flavor, but you can also use agave syrup or brown sugar.
- Salt: Like most recipes, a pinch of salt is necessary to enhance all flavors and elevate the overall taste.
- Extras: Now here's where it gets fun! After you mix your base ingredients and put them in their individual containers to soak, you can customize each container with your favorite flavors. Vanilla extract, cut fruit, peanut butter, cocoa powder, or something else to match your taste.
After 2-4 hours in the refrigerator, your oatmeal will be ready to eat. Serve warm or cold, the choice is yours!