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What is Oatmeal?

By Deborah Ng
Updated May 16, 2024
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Oatmeal has come a long way in recent years. Years ago, mothers would spend twenty minutes each winter morning in front of a pot of the cereal, stirring constantly to keep out lumps. Nowadays, this porridge-like cereal, which is made of rolled oats, often is made using the instant variety. While oatmeal purists may disagree, many believe that the instant variety's convenience and good taste makes it a preferable option for getting your fix.

Twenty or 30 years ago, parents would sprinkle sugar over oatmeal or add fruit to make it more attractive to kids. Today’s sweetened varieties look and taste nothing like their predecessors. Oatmeal isn’t just a hot cereal fed to children in an attempt to get something warm into their stomach before sending them out in the cold. Not by a long shot. This food has many benefits.

  • Oatmeal is an excellent source of calcium, especially if made with milk. Calcium helps to strengthen bones, teeth and hair and staves off osteoporosis.
  • It is a good source of vitamins and minerals.
  • Oatmeal is filling. Those who eat it in the morning are less likely to fill up with sugary snacks before lunch.
  • The cereal contains high amounts of fiber, keeping you regular.
  • Oatmeal is a low-fat food. You can eat a large bowl without having to worry about packing on the pounds. Keep track of the sugar content, however. Some varieties geared towards kids contain high amounts of sugar.
  • The water soluble fiber helps to lower cholesterol.
  • The soluble fiber in oatmeal also deters the consumption of starch. This is especially good news for diabetics, as they won’t experience a rise in insulin after eating.
  • Oatmeal is said to have cancer fighting properties.
  • It contains plenty of protein.

In addition to providing health benefits when eaten, oatmeal can be used in many home remedies as well. For instance:

  • Used in a bath, it can take the itch out of rashes caused by allergies or illnesses such as chicken pox.
  • Applying a paste made of the cereal and water helps soothe insect bites, bee stings and the itch caused by poison ivy.
  • Oatmeal and water makes a wonderful facial scrub. A mask made of itwill also soften skin.

As you can see, the benefits abound. If bad memories of a lumpy childhood breakfast have steered you clear of the oatmeal aisle, you might want to give it another try. Chances are you won’t be disappointed.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By feasting — On Dec 21, 2012

I like making quick oats for breakfast. I just stir them into boiling water for one minute, and they are ready to eat.

I sprinkle on some sugar and cinnamon and thin slices of apples. With these toppings, one serving of oatmeal is plenty. Sometimes, I get too full to finish just one bowl!

Oatmeal has more nutrition than most breakfast cereals that I like to eat. It's nice to eat a hot breakfast that doesn't contain fat and grease on a cold morning.

By orangey03 — On Dec 20, 2012

I tried sweetening my oatmeal with honey. It tastes okay, but I prefer using sugar.

I love eating it with blueberries and a piece of buttered toast. It's the perfect breakfast, in my opinion.

By Kristee — On Dec 20, 2012

@shell4life – Yes, and they are my favorite cookies with oatmeal in them. I'm not a big fan of oatmeal raisin cookies, but chocolate oatmeal cookies are awesome!

They are really easy to make, too. You just boil a couple of cups of sugar with half a stick of butter and half a cup of milk for one minute. Then, you add half a cup of peanut butter, three tablespoons of cocoa powder, and three cups of oats.

You stir it all up until it blends, and then you drop spoonfuls of the stuff onto wax paper. It will harden as it cools. You can refrigerate it to speed up the process.

By shell4life — On Dec 19, 2012

My mother was always making oatmeal cookies so that I would eat something healthy with fiber in it. She put honey and raisins in them for sweetness so that she didn't have to use as much sugar as the recipe called for.

I've heard that there are chocolate versions of oatmeal cookies, but I don't know if the two flavors would go together very well. Has anyone here tried them?

By anon268017 — On May 12, 2012

Can you make bread with oatmeal and what is the difference between oatmeal and wheat bran?

By anon222172 — On Oct 14, 2011

some of the questions here are obviously stupid. Oatmeal has been found by research to have omega 3 and fiber.

By anon168006 — On Apr 15, 2011

Does oatmeal make you gain weight?

By anon160493 — On Mar 16, 2011

Please let me know that am i right to understand that oatmeal is known in Pakistan is "Jao."

By anon146506 — On Jan 26, 2011

Will Oatmeal give you gas?

By anon143628 — On Jan 17, 2011

I, too, can't find any vitamins in the oatmeal. What is he talking about? There is a fractional amount of fiber (16 percent of RDA). I guess you could eat six bowls of it to get your fiber, but you wouldn't get any other nutrients (at least, there are none listed on the box).

By anon126540 — On Nov 13, 2010

does oatmeal make children slim?

By anon91770 — On Jun 23, 2010

Is oatmeal high in uric acid?

By anon73424 — On Mar 27, 2010

Could you please describe the differences between oat bran, oatmeal and rolled oats?

By anon64758 — On Feb 09, 2010

Message to "anon1736": I think you are being abusive to the writer of this article. If it doesn't answer all of your detailed questions, then move on to another article. Or better yet, call the Quaker Oats Company.

This article was clearly a very general article meant as an easy, quick read about oatmeal. It was informative and well written.

Most folks realize that if one article doesn't answer all of their questions, then they will simply have to research others that are meant to be more detailed.

Please use courtesy and manners when responding. And, why not give a little grace to hardworking writers.

By anon50729 — On Oct 31, 2009

Is oatmeal labeled "1 min" or "quick oats" less nutritious? I've read the labels on both regular and quick oat boxes and the read the same?

By anon48937 — On Oct 16, 2009

You're making all kinds of claims but you're not saying what is in it. Lots of vitamins and minerals? Which ones in what amounts? Lots of fiber? 2g isn't lots. Lots of protein? 2 g isn't lots. Come on, 3/4 of the calories in most oatmeal is from sugars.

By anon43380 — On Aug 28, 2009

Where can I get oatmeal?

By anon41565 — On Aug 16, 2009

can eating oatmeal increase uric acid?

By anon32054 — On May 15, 2009

Do you have to do this daily?

By anon19157 — On Oct 06, 2008

what is oat?

By anon18497 — On Sep 24, 2008

I completely disagree with the opening statement of this article. The best tasting oatmeal is made from old fashioned slow-cooked rolled oats. They do not have to be constantly stirred. Just bring the water to a boil then cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add milk, fruit and maple syrup. Quick cooking oats do not even remotely compare in texture or taste!

By lvitullo — On Apr 06, 2008

Is oatmeal considered a starch?

I was told to omit starches from my diet by my doctor due to high triglycerides.

By anon10298 — On Mar 24, 2008

Is Oatmeal addictive?

By anon5632 — On Dec 01, 2007

Is oatmeal high in magnesium? What mineral benefits does it contain overall?

By anon2858 — On Jul 29, 2007

Does oatmeal reduce weight in children when had for breakfast daily? (age 2 years and 7 months)

By anon1736 — On Jun 13, 2007

can eating oatmeal everyday give you diarrhea?

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