Oats, Wonderful Oats!

Loved by many for being budget-friendly, quick to prepare, and super versatile, oats are also well-known for being one of the healthiest grains on Earth.

Benefits of oats

Oats are a great source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. They even have positive effects on blood sugar, heart health, and digestive health. Beyond a simple bowl of oatmeal, there are so many ways to cook oats. Plus, they’re a great way to stretch your food budget while incorporating more wholesome foods into your diet.

Oats are shelf-stable and may be stored up to 18-24 months in their original packaging. They can be cooked in large batches or for individuals. Plus, this nutrient-dense food can leave you full for hours!

oats growing in a field
Oats grow on tall stalks in a field, like wheat!

Adding whole grains to your diet

It’s important to make half of all the grains you eat in a day whole grains. Whole grains contain the entire kernel– the bran, endosperm, and germ. These parts of the whole grain kernel contain essential fiber, B vitamins, and minerals.

Whole grains are easily identified through the ingredient list. Choose products that contain a whole-grain ingredient listed first on the nutrition label, whether it be “whole wheat,” “brown rice,” “oatmeal,” or even “whole oats.”

Looking for a fun, quick, and easy way to make some easy oatmeal?

Try out the recipe below! Or check out the Maine SNAP-Ed website for more ways to prepare oatmeal, including a no-cook method!

bowl of cooked oatmeal with fresh blueberries

Warm Vanilla Spice Oatmeal

Servings Yielded: 1

Recipe By: Laura Nash, University of New England Student


  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ Tablespoon brown sugar
  • Optional: ¼ cup sliced strawberries for topping

Stovetop Method

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a pot.
  2. Reduce to a simmer and add the oats, cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla.
  3. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then shut off the heat and move the pot off the burner.
  4. Cover the pot and let it rest for 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl and top with strawberries if desired.

Microwave Method

  1. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the oats, cinnamon, ½ of the brown sugar, and vanilla.
  2. Add in the water and mix.
  3. Microwave for 2 minutes.
  4. Add in the remaining sugar, let it stand in the microwave for 1 minute, top with strawberries (if desired) and enjoy!


“10 Tips: Make Half Your Grains Whole Grains.” ChooseMyPlate, https://www.choosemyplate.gov/10-tips-make-half-your-grains-whole-grains