Surprising Ways to Eat Your Oats

There's no doubt oats are a healthy food. After all, they're packed with soluble fiber (the kind that helps lower your cholesterol and helps keep your blood sugar from spiking) and they're relatively low in calories (1/3 cup of dry oats clocks in at 100 calories). They also give you a smattering of B vitamins and minerals (including a whopping amount of manganese, which you need for healthy bones). But if you're finding yourself bored by the regular old morning oatmeal with brown sugar, it's time to embrace new ways to eat oats.

Steel-cut oats are the perfect backdrop for savory toppings. A fast option is topping it with a dollop of peanut butter, a squirt of sriracha and some diced pineapple. Or bring steel-cut oats to the brunch table by topping with sauteed onions and peppers, cilantro, black beans and queso fresco. You can go the route of cooking steel-cut oats in a slow-cooker overnight, or try quick-cooking steel cut oats to work them easily into a quick meal.

For rolled oats, try these suggestions:

Blitz a couple tablespoons of oats into a smoothie to thicken it and add fiber.

Bake them into homemade breakfast bars.

Grind them into gluten-free flour (make sure to use gluten-free certified oats for this purpose. While oats themselves contain no gluten, they often are cross-contaminated while in the processing facility, unless they're processed in a gluten-free facility).

Add to baked goods, like  oat-cherry muffins.

Go beyond breakfast: Oats are versatile enough to use as a whole grain in savory dinners. Add them to meatloaf (pictured up top) or to crust pork loin.

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