What’s so good about oats?
Oats are very filling, high in soluble fibre, provide slow release energy, keep the blood sugar levels steady for concentration at school/work, calcium and protein from the milk, and fibre and antioxidants from the raisins/berries/banana. And for those of us getting on a bit, oats contain ‘beta glucan’ which is clinically proven to be one of the great cholesterol lowering foods. If you want a low Glycaemic Index oat, go for the chunky ones, as the finely ground ‘instant’ oats e.g. Oats So Simple are actually digested quite quickly, giving you less of the longer term sustained energy release.
Jazzing it up!
Porridge can be a bit, well, dull and have a bit of a ‘gruel’ image. My clients sometimes pull a yuck face if I suggest oats for breakfast. But keep an open mind and try something new! There are a million and one ways to jazz up your breakfast oats to make them tasty and delicious…..
It’s an alchemy of three parts:
- the oats: There is a wide variety of oat chunkiness. Finely ground e.g. Ready Brek for ultra smooth, to jumbo and chewy like Flahavins. Slow cook them in a saucepan on the stove, zapp in the microwave in 90 seconds, or just add a smidge of hot water to the chunkies (how I like it).
- Water or milk? The debate is on among porridge devotees on the perfect ratio of milk to water. Each to their own………I’m a water only fan, my husband is 50:50 milk to water, youngest daughter Evie likes the oats cooked in water only, with cold milk added (?!) You don’t have to stick to cow’s milk, try almond, rice, oat, soy, or Koko for a change. All of these have added calcium and vitamin D, so you’re not missing out on these essential vitamins!
- The Fun Part: jazz your bowl up with a menagerie of ingredients which can be combined to provide endless possibilities! Peanut or cashew nut butter, raisins, coconut, cinnamon, banana puree, honey, maple syrup, grated apple, toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, berries, yogurt. The list is endless……….
10 ways to add OOOMPH to oats:
- Power Smoothie – blend a handful of oats, 200ml milk, dollop of yogurt*, frozen berries and honey
- Puree banana – roughly mash a ripe banana, put in a cup with enough water to almost cover the banana, microwave for 90 seconds, and voila, a lovely smooth puree to add to you porridge. The more ripe the banana the smoother and sweeter!
- Berries – fresh berries can be expensive, so I use supermarket frozen basics range (£1.20for a bag that lasts about a week). Quickly defrost a cup full in the microwave and add to chunky oats with a big dollop of Total yogurt.
- Summer Oats – this is soooo good and a refreshing alternative to hot oats. Prepare the night before so that all the lovely flavours develop and are soaked up by the oats. Good for taking to work if you’ve no time first thing in the morning to eat breakfast.
- add a dollop of high protein yogurt* to bump up the protein, keeping you full up for longer, and to make it really creamy!
- Homemade Flapjacks – eat them as the are, or one of my clients takes two to work, crumbles them in a cup with hot milk for a warming breakfast at her desk.
- smooth (Ready Brek) – for the non-chunky lovers out there, Ready Brek can be good as it is made from oats, and has the added benefit of vitamins and mineral e.g. lots of iron
- Vary the milk – there is such a wide variety these days…..almond, rice, Koko. All have added calcium and vitamin D, so you’re not losing out!
- Honey/maple syrup/agave nectar – there’s nothing wrong with adding a bit of sweetness, especially if it means kids gobbling up a bowl of oats.
- Dollop of peanut butter – adding good fats and protein, add a tablespoon before cooking so that it melts and you can stir it through.
Benefits of greek yogurt! – double the protein of other yogurts (10g/100g) e.g. Total, Danone, Liberte (not greek ‘style’)