Instant oatmeal is the variety found in those convenient packets to which you add milk or water and heat in the microwave for a minute or so. Instant oats have been precooked and are usually only eaten as cereal. There's nothing wrong with instant oatmeal, but like I mentioned earlier, some brands can contain a lot of extra sugar (and sodium), so be sure to check the label. Quick-cooking rolled oats are a better choice, because you can control the "extras." Quick-cooking oats get their name because they are rolled into thinner flakes that only take about 5 minutes to cook. Rolled Oats (G.I. = ~50) are created by a process invented by Quaker Mill way back in 1877. This process steams the groats (the hulled grain) which are then flattened by rollers to create the oat flakes. These take about 15 minutes to cook. And finally there's steel-cut oats (G.I. = ~42). A steel-cut oat is basically a whole oat grain cut in half. In this process the groats are sliced in half by steel blades. These take the longest to cook (about 30 minutes), but you should give them a try. They have a nice chewy, nutty flavor.
Because oatmeal has a low G.I., the carbohydrate is released into your bloodstream slowly. That's good because it will keep your energy levels consistent and help keep you from having cravings later in the morning. Low G.I. foods can help prolong physical endurance too.