There are a lot of great uses for oatmeal, which is great, since I almost always have a big container of rolled oats in the pantry. I’ve loved oatmeal since I was a little girl — my dad used to make it for us for breakfast and always put a big spoonful of strawberry jam on top.
Besides oatmeal being delicious, it’s quite nutritious too! Not only are oats an excellent source of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, thiamine, and iron, but they also contain beta-glucan, which may help regulate blood sugar, reduce bad cholesterol, and even boost the immune system.
And if all of those reasons weren’t enough to convince you, it’s also worth noting that oats are great for your skin and are surprisingly useful around the house! Here are 9 of the best uses for oatmeal, several of which are great options for using up old oats or expired oats you may have forgotten were tucked away in your pantry.
9 Practical Uses For Oatmeal And Oats
1. Make Your Own Oatmeal Packets
Making your own oatmeal packets is easy and more affordable than buying them, plus you can replicate the same creamy texture as the store-bought variety (while enjoying a more delicious homemade taste!) The secret to getting the texture just right is simple — just blend a portion of the oats in your blender.
2. Stretch Ground Beef
Oats are a great way to get more mileage out of your grocery budget. Just grind or blend about 1/4 cup of rolled oats into small pieces, then add it to a pound of ground beef when you start cooking. It’ll make it more filling and give it a nutritional boost, and no one will be any the wiser.
3. Use In Place Of Flour
Finely ground oats (or oat flour) make a great gluten-free alternative to wheat flour. Just put some rolled (or quick) oats in your blender or food processor and grind them into a fine powder.
You can add oat flour to runny soups or dips to thicken them up, or use it in place of the breadcrumbs in your meatloaf, or even bake with it.
4. Clean And Exfoliate Skin
I have super sensitive skin, so I’m always on the lookout for soothing skin treatments, especially in the winter. You can enjoy the same benefits as the colloidal oatmeal in many skin and bath products by using rolled oats to make these soothing oatmeal shower bags. You can use the bag itself to exfoliate your skin, and the oats and soap inside will leave your skin clean and soft.
5. Treat Eczema
You can’t cure eczema, but you can use oats to make a natural eczema cream that will sooth itchy, irritated skin. Featuring coconut oil, shea butter, oats, vitamin E oil, and essential oils, this simple cream will help moisturize and calm your skin — find the instructions here.
6. Pamper Yourself
No list of oatmeal uses would be complete without mentioning an oatmeal bath! An oatmeal bath can be an efficient way to soothe large areas of itchy or irritated skin (like sunburns or chicken pox), or a nice way to unwind at the end of a long day.
To limit the mess, put 2 cups of uncooked quick oats in an organza or muslin bag, then toss the bag of oats in the tub while you’re running a lukewarm bath. Soak in the oat water for 10-20 minutes for moisturized, soothed, and rejuvenated skin.
7. Clean Up Spilled Oil
Oats can make it a lot easier to clean spilled oil off of your floors and counters. Just sprinkle uncooked oats over the oil and let them sit until all of the oil has been absorbed. Sweep up the mess, then wipe the area with a damp cloth — much easier than trying to wipe up oil itself.
8. Eliminate Odors
Oatmeal can absorb more than just water and oil — it will absorb odors too. Put an open container of oatmeal in your fridge to help neutralize food smells naturally. Some people even line ashtrays with oatmeal to neutralize the smell of smoke. Any type of oats will work for odor-absorbing purposes — even old oats.
9. Fuel Your Workouts
I’ve always heard that oats “stick to your ribs,” and studies appear to back that up. Researchers shows that oatmeal can help increase endurance when eaten about three hours before exercising. Oats may even help to reduce inflammation and muscle damage too.
Bonus Tip: Know The Shelf-Life Of Oatmeal
Do oats go bad? Eventually, yes. Like dried rice or pasta, uncooked oats (including rolled oats, quick oats, and steel cut oats) will last around 12 months if stored in an unopened package or an airtight container. After that point, however, they’ll still probably be okay to use for tips #4-8 in this list!
What other uses for oatmeal would you add to this list?