Oats mild flavor and chewy consistency work well with just about any flavor. They’re especially useful in place of less healthy carbs; consider substituting them into dishes usually prepared with pasta or rice.

Here’s the stats for a serving of rolled oats:

serving cost calories net carbs fat fiber protein sugar
1/2 cup ~$0.081 150 23 3 4 5 1

You can buy them in a number of forms:

  • old fashioned / rolled
    • steamed and rolled whole oats
    • most versatile: can be chewy or creamy depending on cook time
  • steel cut
    • chopped up whole oats
    • slower to cook and chewier
    • require a large bowl and carefully measured water; I prefer to use them in soups
  • bran
    • the outer shell of the oat
    • healthier, but worse consistency and taste; I prefer to use it like flour
  • whole (groats)
    • very slow to cook; I’ve never bothered with them

You’ll also find “quick” or “instant” oats, which are processed to be faster to cook. When applied to rolled oats they’re mushier, more expensive, and often come flavored, so I avoid them. However, plain quick steel cut oats are fine in my experience.

Oats themselves vary little between brands, but cheaper varieties of rolled oats tend to be thinner and have more husks. Store brand tends to be cheapest, while Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick is my favorite for taste.

  1. rolled oats $2.50/42oz (store brand, local grocery)