Oatmeal - it's one of those foods that you find folks either love or hate, with few brave souls floating around in between those two extremes. As a little girl, I found oatmeal mushy and bland, and thus resided in the anti-oatmeal camp. However, I also hated mashed potatoes when I was little, so clearly something just wasn't quite right there. These days, as a dietetics student and a general foodie, I absolutely adore oatmeal in all flavors and forms and definitely stand proudly in the pro-oatmeal camp. Whether you're an oatmeal skeptic or a fellow fan, read on for six of the greatest benefits of oatmeal - nutritional and otherwise!

Long Shelf Life


First up on our list of the greatest benefits of oatmeal? Shelf life! When stored with the container closed tightly and in a dry place, oatmeal can be eaten for a year or so after its production date. While it will obviously be at top quality before and soon after its "Best By" date, its nice to know that if you don't quite get that container eaten by its stamped-on date, you've still got time to get 'er done!

Super Affordable

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Anna Arteaga

A major perk of adding oatmeal to your shopping cart is its affordability, which makes it accessible to everyone, even the frugal college student. A quick trip over to the Dollar General website shows that an 18 ounce container of Quaker Oats quick oatmeal is only $2.95. At about 13 servings per container, that's only $0.23 per serving! Where else are you gonna score a breakfast that cheap? While oatmeal might be low in price, it sure isn't low in health benefits. Which leads us to . . . 

Oh So Nutritious

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Jocelyn Hsu

A big part of what makes oats so great is that they are full of the nutrients we want and low in what we don't need. By taking a peek at my own container of oatmeal, which is the Clover Valley brand, I can see that 100% natural quick oats contain no cholesterol, sodium, and only a minimal amount of sugar that adds up to less than one gram per serving (just make sure you watch how much sugar you add to your oats, if that's how you like to eat them!) When it comes to those good nutrients we want, just half a cup of oats contains 5 grams of protein, making oats one of several great plant-based sources of protein for your morning routine. One half cup serving also contains 4 grams of fiber that will keep you full through your round of morning classes. 

Numerous Health Benefits

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Christin Urso

While oatmeal is often profiled as a healthy food, not everyone may know or understand exactly what it is that makes oatmeal so healthy. Numerous studies described by the Whole Grains Council support the often-heard claims that oatmeal is heart-healthy, helps control one's appetite, promotes a healthy GI tract, and so much more. They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day; by choosing oatmeal, you can make it a healthy one! 

Room For Variety

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Kelly Redfield

If you're one of those people who's always labeled oatmeal as boring, think again. Variety is "the spice of life," and there's tons of room for variety in your bowl of oatmeal. Oatmeal is delicious eaten both hot or cold (overnight oats, yum), as well as sweet or savory. Don't believe me? Check out this page full of savory oatmeal ideas, or perhaps this list of sweet recipes!

Sweet Simplicity

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Rachel Tison

At the end of the day, a key aspect of what makes oatmeal so wonderful is its sweet simplicity. Not only can your bowl of oatmeal be ready in minutes, but after a stressful day, sometimes all we need is the warmth, simplicity, and comfort that only foods like a bowl of steaming oatmeal can provide. In the midst of the craziness of life, it really is all about the simple things. 

The benefits of oatmeal are numerous, making it a food everyone should include in their diet. If you were already a fellow fan of oatmeal before today, then cheers to you. And if you weren't? I hope that after reading this article and trying a few oatmeal recipes of your own, you will be!