Irish oatmeal is a delicious and nutritious addition to your morning routine. But what makes this type of whole grain oat different from other types? And what are the benefits you can expect in every bite?
In this article, our experts at The Soulfull Project discuss everything you need to know about Irish oatmeal so you can decide if it’s right for you and your family.
We’ll also let you in on how you can be a part of The Soulfull Project’s unique community efforts to supply servings of our whole grain oats hot cereal to food banks in your area.
What Is Oatmeal?
Before we discuss oatmeal — and Irish oatmeal — in particular, let’s back up a step and examine the two, more general, categories to which these foods belong.
Many people use the terms oatmeal and porridge interchangeably, but while all oatmeal is porridge, not all porridge is oatmeal. Allow us to explain.
Porridge (a.k.a. hot cereal) is a general classification of food that refers to a combination of ground, crushed, or chopped starchy plants — typically grains — boiled in water, milk, or other liquid.
You can make porridge out of a wide variety of grains, including:
But, by far, the most popular grain with which to make porridge is oats.
So, if you want to know exactly what oatmeal is, it’s ground, crushed, or chopped oats boiled in water, milk, or some other liquid.
Whole grain foods are those that contain all the edible parts that the plant produces, including the bran, endosperm, and germ.
The bran is the hard outer shell of the whole grain and contains antioxidants, fiber, and minerals. The endosperm is the middle layer and is high in carbohydrates. The germ is the inner layer and contains vitamins, minerals, protein, and other plant compounds.
Some grains go through significant processing (or refinement) before they reach your store shelves. In those cases, manufacturers remove the germ and the bran (the fiber and the protein), leaving behind just the endosperm (the carbohydrate).
While you do need good carbohydrates every day to keep your mind and body healthy, it’s very easy to get too many carbohydrates if all you eat is processed grain and products made with them.
Oatmeal, though, is 100% whole grain — all the good stuff is still in there.
Let’s go back to the original question for this section: what is oatmeal? Combining information from the two general categories we’ve discussed so far, we come up with this definition:
Oatmeal is ground, crushed, or chopped whole grain oats
boiled in water, milk, or some other liquid.
That brings us, then, to the next major category of oatmeal: variety. There are three major varieties of oatmeal:
- Steel cut oats
- Rolled oats
- Instant oats
“But, wait,” you say, “where does Irish oatmeal come in?” We’ll answer that question in the next section.
What Is Irish Oatmeal?
The easiest way to understand what Irish oatmeal is is to imagine you’ve just picked a bowlful of oats off an oat plant growing in the field.
The kernels in your bowl are technically called groats and are the most basic form of whole grain oatmeal you can get. But because of their size and density, those groats can be difficult to eat whole — even boiled up as oatmeal.
To make the groats easier to consume, imagine that you chop the kernels into smaller pieces with a sharp knife. Congrats! You’ve just made your very own steel cut oats. Those steel cut oats are also known as Irish oatmeal.
Irish oatmeal is as close to the natural oat groat as you can get without actually eating the kernels right off the stalk.
And, because they are processed less, steel cut oats have a coarser feel, a chewier texture, and a nuttier flavor than other types of oatmeal.
They also take longer to prepare because they’re much denser and thicker than the other varieties of oatmeal.
For more information about those other varieties — rolled oats and instant oats — check out this article from The Soulfull Project blog: Steel Cut Oats Vs. Rolled Oats Vs. Instant Oats: Which Is Best?
Benefits Of Irish Oatmeal
1) None Of The Bad Stuff, All Of The Good
That means you don’t have to let a gluten sensitivity, lactose intolerance, or concerns about your weight stop you from including Irish oatmeal in your balanced diet and reaping the rewards of whole grain nutrition.
2) Macronutrients And Micronutrients In One Bowl
The foundation of a healthy, balanced diet is composed of three essential macronutrients and a number of micronutrients, including:
- Healthy Fat
- Vitamin C
All foods contain at least one of the macronutrients mentioned above (the first three) and some of the micronutrients. That’s why it’s so important to eat a balanced diet that includes a wide variety of foods.
Irish oatmeal, though, contains protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fat, along with calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamin D in one delicious package!
3) Fiber Helps You Feel Full Longer
Oatmeal is a fairly dense food, so it takes a while for your stomach to digest it. In addition, the high levels of fiber in oatmeal and hot cereal help regulate the release of hunger hormones inside your body.
Put those two facts together and it means that you’ll feel full long after eating a serving or two of oatmeal, and you won’t be as tempted to snack on sugary foods between meals.
That’s a foundation for a healthier you.
4) Antioxidants For A Healthier You
Antioxidants are natural and beneficial chemicals found in food. These chemicals help your body eliminate the free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells) that are the primary cause of aging and illness.
Irish oatmeal has antioxidants in spades!
In fact, the antioxidant avenanthramide is almost exclusively found in oats. That makes Irish oatmeal a powerful ally in keeping your body healthy.
Irish Oatmeal Can Change The World
At The Soulfull Project, we firmly believe that a serving of oatmeal can change the world.
When you eat a healthy, balanced diet — including fruits, vegetables, protein, and Irish oatmeal — you’ll have the energy you need to make a difference in your life and the lives of those around you.
That’s why we’re committed to providing good food to those who need it!
Or, if you’re looking for gluten-free, nut-free options to keep you looking and feeling your best, check out our Don’t Go Nuts soy spreads and chewy granola bars.
So, whether you choose our Irish oatmeal or our Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry Almond, Brown Sugar Pecan, Cinnamon Spice, or Toasted Coconut hot cereal flavors, you’ll get hearty — and heart-healthy — ingredients, including:
Plus, you’ll also be helping out those in your community. For every serving you purchase, The Soulfull Project will donate a serving of our hot cereal to a regional food bank in your area.
That one small act can have an impact on the health and happiness of your neighbors and can truly change the world for the better.
For more information on the serving-for-serving program and to check out all our delicious hot cereal flavors — including Irish oatmeal — visit TheSoulfullProject.com today.