Hey there, oatmeal enthusiasts! Are you curious about whether you can eat raw oatmeal? Well, you've come to the right place to get your questions answered. Today, we're diving into the world of oats to explore whether munching on them raw is a safe and tasty option. So, let's get to the bottom of it together and uncover the delicious possibilities of raw oatmeal!
Whole-grain oats are not only very healthy but also really easy to find. The good news is, almost all types of oats are easy to find in pretty much every grocery store you visit.
Different types of oats
Before we get into the gritty of this, let me share the common types of oatmeal you will see out there for purchase.
- Quick Oats: Rolled oats that are thinly flattened, making them cook faster than traditional oats. They are perfect for a quick and easy breakfast.
- Instant Oats: These oats are pre-cooked and then dehydrated, requiring only hot water or milk to prepare. They're ideal for those rushed mornings. They come in packages marked instant oatmeal and typically you will find them flavored.
- Old-Fashioned Oats: Rolled oats are larger and thicker compared to quick oats. They maintain their shape and texture during cooking, providing a heartier bowl of oatmeal.
- Oat Flakes: These oats are simply rolled flat, similar to quick oats, but may have a coarser texture, offering a delightful crunch to your oatmeal.
- Steel Cut Oats: Also known as Irish oats, these oats are chopped rather than rolled, resulting in a chewy, nutty texture. They take a bit longer to cook but are worth the wait.
- Whole Oats: Oats with their bran, germ, and endosperm intact, offering a nutritious option for a hearty and filling breakfast.
- Oat Groats: The least processed form of oats, these are hulled and whole, requiring the longest cooking time but providing the most wholesome oatmeal experience. Here is a recipe for how to cook whole oat groats in the pressure cooker.
- Oat Flour- a finely ground powder made from oats, providing a versatile and gluten-free alternative to regular wheat flour in various recipes.
- Oat Milk- a creamy and lactose-free beverage made from blending soaked oats and water, offering a delicious dairy milk alternative suitable for vegans and those with lactose intolerance.
Can you eat raw oats?
Yes, you can eat raw oats! Unlike many other grains, oats are safe to consume without cooking, making them a versatile and convenient option for various culinary creations. Raw oats retain all their natural nutrients, including fiber, protein, and essential vitamins, making them a wholesome addition to your diet. You can enjoy them as a quick and crunchy snack, blend them into smoothies, or use them as a base for overnight oats. Just keep in mind that raw oats might be a bit tough to chew, so soaking them in liquid beforehand can soften their texture and enhance their taste.
Below I am sharing a few of my favorite energy balls that use raw oats in them.
Is it okay to eat raw steel-cut oats?
While oats, in general, are safe to eat raw, it's important to exercise caution when consuming raw steel-cut oats. Unlike rolled oats, which undergo steaming and rolling processes, steel-cut oats are minimally processed and simply chopped into small pieces. This means they are harder and denser compared to rolled oats.
Eating raw steel-cut oats may be challenging on your digestive system and could potentially lead to discomfort or digestive issues. The tough texture of raw steel-cut oats may be difficult for your body to break down, and you might not fully absorb the nutrients they contain.
To make steel-cut oats easier to digest and enjoy, it's best to cook them thoroughly before consuming them. Traditional cooking methods, such as boiling or simmering, will soften the oats and make them more palatable. Additionally, cooking releases the starches and nutrients, making them easier for your body to process and absorb.
Can you put raw oats in a smoothie?
Yes, you can absolutely put raw oats in a smoothie! Raw oats are a nutritious and versatile ingredient that can add texture, thickness, and a boost of nutrients to your smoothies.
When adding raw oats to a smoothie, it's essential to consider the texture you desire. If you prefer a smoother consistency, you can soak the oats in liquid (such as milk, water, or yogurt) for a few minutes before blending. Soaking will soften the oats and make them easier to blend, resulting in a smoother smoothie.
On the other hand, if you enjoy a bit of texture and a hearty feel in your smoothie, you can add the raw oats directly to the blender without soaking. They will blend in with the other ingredients, creating a more substantial and filling smoothie.
Raw oats are a great source of fiber, providing a feeling of fullness and supporting digestive health. They also contain essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals, making them an excellent addition to your smoothie for a well-rounded and nourishing beverage.
I am including my favorite smoothie recipe that uses raw oats below.
Ways to serve oatmeal
- Fresh Fruit: Top your oatmeal with a variety of fresh fruits like berries, bananas, apples, or peaches for a burst of natural sweetness and added nutrients.
- Maple Syrup: Drizzle maple syrup over your oats to enhance the flavor with a delightful touch of natural sweetness.
- Breakfast Cereals: Mix oats with your favorite breakfast cereals like granola or muesli to create a delicious and crunchy combination.
- Brown Sugar: Sprinkle a little brown sugar over your oats for a classic sweet taste that complements the nuttiness of the oats.
- Almond Milk: Use almond milk as a creamy and dairy-free alternative to regular milk when preparing your oats for a luscious and nutty flavor.
- Dried Fruits: Add dried fruits such as raisins, cranberries, or apricots to your oatmeal for a chewy and naturally sweet twist.
- Savory: Experiment with savory oatmeal by adding ingredients like sautéed vegetables, herbs, and spices for a hearty and satisfying meal.
Ways to add protein to your favorite oatmeal recipes
- Peanut Butter: Stir in a spoonful of peanut butter to your oatmeal for a creamy and protein-packed addition that also adds a delicious nutty flavor.
- Chia Seeds: Sprinkle chia seeds into your oatmeal to boost the protein content and provide an extra dose of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Nut Butter: Whether it's almond butter, cashew butter, or any other nut butter, swirl it into your oatmeal to elevate the protein level and create a rich and satisfying taste.
- Seeds and Nuts: Toss a handful of seeds and nuts, such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or chopped almonds, on top of your oatmeal for added crunch and protein.
- Eggs: For a unique twist, try making "egg oats" by stirring in a beaten egg while cooking your oatmeal. This adds a substantial protein boost and creates a creamy texture.
Why oats are so good for you
Oats are an incredibly beneficial addition to your diet, offering a multitude of reasons why they are so good for you. Firstly, their soluble fiber content helps regulate blood sugar levels, making them an excellent choice for individuals looking to manage diabetes or maintain stable energy levels throughout the day. Check this page from American Heart Association all about oats.
Also, oats have been praised for their weight loss benefits, as they promote a feeling of fullness and help control appetite. If you're looking to shed a few pounds or maintain a healthy weight, incorporating oats into your daily meals can be a smart and satisfying choice.
In terms of nutrition, oats are a powerhouse, rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that contribute to overall health and well-being. They are an excellent source of essential nutrients like iron, magnesium, and B vitamins, providing a nourishing boost to your body.
Their high dietary fiber content supports gut health, aiding digestion and promoting a healthy gut microbiome. A healthy gut is essential for nutrient absorption, immune function, and even mental well-being, making oats a valuable addition to your diet for maintaining a happy tummy.
And if this wasn't enough, oats are known to lower cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease. They help to decrease LDL cholesterol levels, supporting cardiovascular health.
By incorporating oats into your daily meals, you can enjoy a delicious and nutritious way to support a well-balanced diet and improve your overall health. Whether you prefer oatmeal for breakfast, use oats in smoothies, or add them to your baking recipes, you'll be reaping the numerous health benefits oats have to offer.
More information on oats
Let me share some of my most recent posts on oats and oatmeal.
Popular oatmeal recipes
I have many, many oatmeal recipes on my website, here are a few of my personal favorite way to cook oatmeal:
Creamy peanut butter smoothie with raw oats
- 1 blender or food processor
- 2 frozen bananas
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter or other nut butter of choice
- 2 teaspoon chia seeds
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt or honey Greek yogurt
- 2-4 tablespoon maple syrup
- ⅔ cup old-fashioned oats
- 1-2 cup almond milk or other milk of choice
- Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender until it is smooth.
- Divide into 2 portions and serve immediately.