Oatmeal provides whole-grain fiber that can help lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease. For children, fiber helps combat constipation. Adding oatmeal to cookies, breads and muffins is a good way to add fiber to your child's diet. In addition to being a good source of fiber, oats are low in fat and calories. You can use old-fashioned oats in place of quick cooking oats in recipes and meals.
The only difference between old-fashioned and quick-cooking oats is the way they're cut. Both are steamed and flatted between rollers. Quick-cooking oats are first cut into smaller pieces in order to reduce the time it takes them to cook. When making oatmeal, old-fashioned oats take about 15 minutes to cook on the stove, while quick oats only need about five minutes of cooking.
Half a cup of either old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats has 80 calories, 1 1/2 grams of fat and 3 grams of protein. A serving of oats provides 6 percent of an adult's daily requirement of iron and some calcium. Adding skim milk, nuts or dried fruit to oatmeal increases its nutritional content. Let your children add their own toppings to oatmeal to make it more of a treat. One cup of cooked oatmeal contains about 4 grams of fiber.
When substituting old-fashioned oats for the quick-cooking variety in baked goods and other recipes, the finished product may be a little chewier. Some people prefer this for cookies, breads and other recipes. If your kids prefer a softer texture, you can pulverize old-fashioned oats in the blender or food processor to chop them up and turn them into the equivalent of quick oats. Cooking the recipe for a few minutes longer may reduce the chewiness.
You can use quick or old-fashioned oats as the starch in meatloaf or instead of bread crumbs to coat fish or chicken. Swap out 1/3 to 1/2 cup of flour with oatmeal in a favorite recipe for bread to add flavor and fiber to your bread, and add a packet of seasoning mix to further enrich the flavor. Oats mixed with brown sugar and a little butter make a crunchy topping for a fruit crisp.
- United States Department of Agriculture Household Commodities Fact Sheet; Oats, Whole Grain, Rolled and Dry; April 2009
- MayoClinic.com; High Fiber Foods; Mayo Clinic Staff; November 2009
- North Dakota State University; Add Some Heart-Healthy Oatmeal to Your Diet; Julie Garden- Robinson
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln; A Nutritionally Hot Recipe for Oatmeal; Alice Henneman
- Quaker Oats Health Institute; Did You Know?; 2002
- Taste of Home: Quick-Cooking Oats
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