As a whole grain, oats contain a hearty dose of fiber, as well as multiple health-enhancing nutrients, including phosphorous, potassium, manganese and selenium. Whether you eat oat groat, steel-cut oats or rolled oats, soaking them ahead of time softens the oat kernels, which makes them more digestible and produces a rich, creamy blend of tender, moist oats. Mix the soaked oats with a handful of fruit and nuts and eat them cold as muesli. Or warm them on the stove over a medium-low heat for five minutes before serving them as a nutritious, filling breakfast or snack.
Measure the desired amount of oats into a glass bowl, using approximately ½ cup of uncooked oats per serving. Pour the liquid into the bowl with the oats, using two times as much liquid as oats; for example, if you've measured 1 cup of oats into the bowl, then you'll need 2 cups of liquid for soaking. Possible options include plain water, low-fat milk, soy milk and yogurt, or use a combination of these options, such as equal amounts of milk and yogurt, suggests Charlottesville, Va.-based registered dietitian, Kath Younger.
Mix the contents of the bowl with a spoon to thoroughly blend the oats and the liquid. Cover the bowl loosely with a paper towel. Place the bowl carefully in the refrigerator and leave it to soak for 12 to 24 hours.
Remove the oat-filled bowl from the refrigerator and discard the paper towel. Stir the mixture in the bowl to blend it completely. Spoon the soaked oats into a cooking pot for heating on the stove or into a bowl if you'd rather eat them uncooked. Before serving, add sliced or mashed fruit or vegetables, such as banana, pumpkin or peaches, for a nutritious boost of flavor and sweetness.