No more porridge! Interesting ways to add oats to your daily diet

Sep 02, 2020
There are a lot of delicious ways you can enjoy oats big health benefits without whipping up plain old porridge every time. Source: Getty.

A great source of important vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants, oats provide a number of health benefits, including improved heart health and weight loss, just to name a few. But if you’re not a fan of plain old oats, or you ate a lot of porridge growing up, it’s probably been a while since you last whipped up some for breakfast or used them in a recipe.

That’s why Starts at 60 spoke to Brisbane-based nutritionist Alessandra Trovato and Uncle Tobys ambassador and MasterChef star Hayden Quinn to find out not just why oats are so good for you but also how to easily include them in your diet.

Health benefits of eating oats

Alessandra says oats contain a number of good-for-you vitamins, including vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps repair damaged cells and B vitamins, which are essential for various functions within the body. They’re also rich in soluble fibre and carbohydrates, which can help keep you full between meals — and can ultimately lead to weight loss. “This can help reduce overeating,” she says.

Oats are also good for your heart. How? Well, according to Alessandra, eating oats can lower cholesterol levels, which could prevent cardiovascular disease. Meanwhile, a study published by the American Heart Association found people who ate a diet rich in oats had lower blood pressure and reduced blood levels of cholesterol. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are risk factors for heart attack and stroke.

Different ways to cook with oats

Apart from whipping up porridge every time, Hayden says this versatile grain can be prepared in a number of ways. “Oats are a great way to add extra whole grains and fibre into your diet,” he says, adding that they work well in a slice or loaf.

He also loves adding a handful of oats to baked muffins (sweet or savoury), banana bread or tarts. And if you’re after something a bit more savoury Hayden recommends throwing in some spices like chilli or Turmeric into the mix, with an egg and wrapping it into a tortilla — delicious!

On the other hand, if you are a porridge fan, Hayden recommends playing around with different combinations, whether that be adding fresh raspberries, a dollop of raspberry jam, dried fruits such as dates or figs to the bowl while balancing it out with some cocoa powder or nut butter.

“Topping your oats with your favourite nut butter is a great way to add flavour and also texture to your morning bowl,” he says.

And according to Hayden, the trick to making the perfect bowl of porridge comes down to technique. If you’re cooking on the stove, he recommends using 1/2 cup of oats and 1 cup of water or milk and heating it up on low for four minutes. And if you prefer your porridge a little softer, he says to keep stirring for another few minutes.

Need some inspiration? Here’s a delicious banana bread recipe from Uncle Tobys developed with Hayden.

Oat Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups (330g) wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup (250g) butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (280g) coconut sugar (can be substituted for brown sugar)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large super ripe bananas
  • 2 tbsp (30g) Greek or natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup pre-prepared porridge made using Uncle Tobys Traditional Rolled Oats
  • 1 tsp Uncle Tobys Traditional Rolled Oats, for topping

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 175C. Grease and line with baking paper the inside of a large loaf tin and trim the edges so sit just above the edge of the tin. In a large bowl add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together.
  2. Melt the butter and place in a medium-sized bowl. Add the sugar and whisk till combined. Slowly whisk in the eggs one at a time until completely incorporated then whisk for a further 30 seconds.
  3. Mash the three bananas together. Add the yoghurt, one tablespoon of milk, mashed banana and leftover porridge to the wet ingredients and stir until everything is well incorporated in the batter. If the batter looks like it is too dry, then add another tablespoon of milk to the batter.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in three equal portions, stirring after each addition. Be sure not to over mix, the batter is ready once the dry mixture is completely incorporated.
  5. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf tin and top with UNCLE TOBYS Traditional Rolled Oats. Place in the oven for 45 to 50 mins or until an inserted skewer comes out clean and the loaf is golden brown on top.
Banana bread with oats. Source: Supplied.

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