Loaf of bread with oats on table

How to Reap the Benefits of Whole Grain Oats

Curious about whole grain oats? Find out about their inherent goodness and how to get your daily dose.

When the International Food Information Council Foundation surveyed Americans about the nutrients they want to eat more of earlier this year, they ranked whole grains second only to fiber.

If you’re looking for a great, easy-to-find source of whole grains, try oats. They have a type of soluble fiber known as beta-glucan, which research has shown can help lower LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind) when three grams are consumed daily as part of a heart healthy diet. Plus, there are so many ways to get more in your diet. Here are four you’ll want to try:

bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios on table

1. Buy Cereal That Already Contains Them

Cereals that contain whole grain oats, like Honey Nut Cheerios, are an easy way to get your fix. Pour yourself a bowlful for breakfast, add it to homemade trail mix, or mix it with peanut butter to make easy, no-bake cereal bars. The simple (delicious!) ideas are endless.

Bowl of oatmeal with Blueberries

2. Overnight Them

Too lazy to get up and tend the stove for 20 minutes? This shortcut is the salvation of anyone who isn’t a morning person. Just combine old-fashioned oats with milk or a nondairy alternative, and take your choice of add-ins. Gently shake or stir the mixture in a jar with a screw-on lid and refrigerate overnight. The oats absorb the liquid, leaving you with breakfast to go.

Oatmeal cookies

3. Bake with Them

You can add oats to virtually any baked goods for a whole grain and fiber punch: breads, muffins, bars, or the crumb topping for pie or cobbler. Baked oatmeal is pretty dessert-like, too, and can be cut into squares for a wholesome snack. You can even bake with whole oat cereals like Honey Nut Cheerios. Bake the tasty O’s into cookies, or crush them and make applesauce muffins.

A smoothie with bananas and oats

4. Add Them to a Smoothie

Oats make a great thickener for fruit- or yogurt-based smoothies, and their fiber makes the drink more satisfying by keeping you full longer, too. You can use raw oats or toast them for a little extra flavor. There are two basic techniques for making a smoothie with oats: Blend them to make a powder before adding other ingredients, or add them to the liquid in the smoothie and let them soak for 15 minutes, until they’re soft enough to mix with the other ingredients. Either way, they’ll taste great and you’ll suck up the benefits.

Get more whole grain oats in your day with Honey Nut Cheerios.