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There's More to Oatmeal than a Healthy Breakfast

While oatmeal makes for a great breakfast to get you started in the morning (check out its health benefits here) you may be surprised to discover other alternative uses for oats that can be used outside the kitchen. An added bonus: oatmeal's alternative uses will also save you money. Let's take a look at 10 alternative uses for oatmeal you never thought of.  


Take Note: These tips are meant for oat flakes, not the instant oatmeal that comes in a packet with added flavors and sugars.


1. Clean a cast iron pan: Soap on cast iron cookware should generally be avoided. So, to clean grease and bits of food from your pots and pans use a bit of oatmeal instead. Doing so will not only save you money, it will reduce your scrubbing time too. Just sprinkle some oatmeal (about 2 tablespoons) in the pan and add a little water, then rub it off with a stiff brush, washcloth or your finger. Once done, rinse then dry. Using oatmeal works because it absorbs any grease, and gently scrubs away any stubborn food bits.


2. Thicken soups with oatmeal: Soups and stews are an excellent way to use leftovers or seasonal produce. And a great way to thicken a soup, without having to add a lot of extra fat and calories (such as heavy cream, butter and flour) is to grind up some oatmeal instead. Simply add the ground oatmeal a tablespoon at a time until you get the desired consistency. Besides giving your soup or stew a creamier and thicker consistency, you'll also be stocking up on some fiber.


3. Neutralize odors with oatmeal: This may be a surprising fact to discover, especially since oatmeal is just as effective as baking soda when it comes to neutralizing odors. Just place a bowl of oats in the fridge to absorb any nasty smells, or add some oats to the bottom of ashtrays to trap the smoke odor. Oatmeal may also be added to smelly sneakers and litter boxes to help absorb odors there too.


4. Relieve minor burns: Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties, allowing you to feel less pain quickly, so if you're in need of a quick relief from a minor burn, mix 1/2 cup of oatmeal and 1/4 cup of water and let it sit for a minute. Meanwhile, run cold water over the burn. Apply the wet oatmeal paste on the affected area and let it sit for 5 minutes.


5. Get radiant skin: Oatmeal makes for a great alternative to exfoliate your skin, making it moist with this easy, natural and inexpensive facial mask. Just grind 1 tablespoon oatmeal and mix it with 2 teaspoons of honey and 3/4 teaspoon water. Apply the blend to your face and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then, rinse with warm water and pat dry.



6. Absorb oil spills: Oatmeal absorbs oil spills quickly and efficiently. It can be used on cooking oils or even car oil. Just cover the spilled oil with oatmeal and let it sit for 30 minutes, then sweep up the mess.


7. Use oatmeal to make a dry shampoo: If your hair has a tendency to look dry or oily, washing it every day will only make matters worse. But this DIY shampoo will keep your hair oil-fee, fresh smelling and will give it some volume. Just grind 1 tablespoon of oatmeal and massage the powder into your scalp. Let it sit for about 5 minutes then brush it out.  


8. Soothe dry, itchy skin with oatmeal: An oatmeal bath is an easy way to help alleviate dry skin and chicken pox. Grind oatmeal into a fine powder and pour it into a piece of cheesecloth (you may also cut one leg off an old pair of panty hose instead of using a cheesecloth). Tie it around the spout of your tub and let the warm water run through the oatmeal mix, helping to soothe your skin and get rid of the itch.

9. Cut the cost of meatloaf, burgers and meatballs: Meat can be pretty costly. To get the most from your meatloaf, burgers or meatballs add some oatmeal to the mix. Adding about 1/8 to 1/4 cup oatmeal for every pound of ground beef will not only save you money, it will also reduce your calorie and saturated fat intake too.


10. Use oatmeal to make modeling clay for kids: To create play-doh like clay, combine 1 cup of instant rolled oats, 2/3 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup water. The clay should stay moist for hours but will harden overnight.




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