Oatmeal, porridge, hot cereal, whatever you like to call it, chances are you probably love it. But when you go to the oatmeal aisle in Tops, ready to fulfill your craving for the wonderful whole grain, you are confronted with all these different options. Rolled oats, steel cut oats, instant oats, Scottish oats, Irish oats! What does it all mean?

Rolled oats

The most common form of oats, they are available in many different varieties. Made from oat groats, the whole grain, that has been steamed and then passed through a roller mill, they are the flat flakes you are most accustomed to. Rolled oats come in an instant variety that are rolled even thinner and steamed longer so they cook quickly. Old-fashioned oats are similar to a rolled oat, as it is steamed, but then pressed flat.

Steel Cut Oats

Also called Irish Oats, steel cut oats are made from oat groats that are chopped into pieces by a steel blade. Large, rounder pieces, they take longer to cook but they also have a lot more benefits. Steel cut oat are particularly good fuel to start your morning with because the body breaks them down slowly, keeping you full and happy longer.

Photo by Tara Botwinick

Scottish Oats

The most traditional of all oats, this is what you’d eat in the United Kingdom with Queen Elizabeth I. Scottish oats are ground from whole oat groats on stone mills. Ground, not cut or rolled, they are fairly fine. Scottish oats make a perfect bowl of porridge, creamy, thick and delicious.

Now that you’ve got all the different oatmeals decoded, go enjoy a delicious bowl of your favorite oat. Some of my preferred additions include cinnamon, maple syrup, fruit and nuts, or when I’m feeling especially decadent just a little chunk of butter. Sounds gross, but it will change your life.