Oats are a super food. Chances are this is something you already know, but are unsure why. I can probably go ahead and make the assumption that you already have oats in your diet, but after reading this you will truly understand why and some different and more exciting ways to use them.
Oats are a cereal grain that like the greatest fighters, know when they need to dig deep. Unlike other cereal grains oats can withstand poor growing conditions and poor soil to still grow healthy, making them available all year round and a cheap, plentiful product.
When the oats make it to stores, they are available to you in a variety of different ways, some healthier than others, so this is something to look out for.
-Steel cut oats are the least processed and therefore the go to choice you fighters. The process the oats take to get to this stage does not strip away the goodness, like the bran and germ, keeping them an excellent source of fibre and nutrients.
-Rolled oats, sometimes called old-fashioned are first steamed then rolled flat.
-Instant oats are the ones to be avoided. They are precooked, dried and filled with artificial flavors and sugars.
So what are the benefits of Oats?
Stabilizes Blood Sugar
Beta-glucan found in the oats (not instant though!) when tested on type 2 diabetes patients has shown that the individuals experienced much lower rises in blood sugar throughout the day. Starting out the day with oats will keep blood sugar levels low throughout the day.
Lowers cholesterol levels
If stable blood sugar wasn’t a good enough reason to start the day with oats, then perhaps lower cholesterol levels will. This is due to the same type of fiber, beta-glucan, mentioned above. Studies have shown that when individuals with high cholesterol consumed just 3 grams of oat fiber daily, their cholesterol dropped by up to 23%.
Preventing heart issues
With oats lowering cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar, this in turn will dramatically lower the risk of heart attacks and other life threatening heart issues.
Boost your immune system
Again, the super hero of oats beta-glucan has been shown to boost the immune system’s response to bacterial infections.
What about the numbers?
Well, 1 cup of cooked steel cut oats contains 300 calories, 10 grams of protein, 54 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fat and 8 grams of fiber.
10g of protein is pretty great for an oat and as for the carbohydrates? They are great too, as the 54 grams oats contain are slow digesting, which means they are guaranteed to fuel you through workouts.
What can you do with oats?
Here are 5 recipes for different meals, which show the healthy versatile options you have with oats.
Breakfast: Bulking oat pancakes
Lunch: Almond overload shake
Snack: Protein peanut balls
Dinner: Oatmeal chicken tenders
Desert: Oatmeal banana cookies
Bulking Oat Pancakes
½ cup Oats
1 egg and 3 egg whites
1 scoop plain protein powder
Handful of blueberries
1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
Cinnamon to taste
1. Cook the oats as directed by the packaging. The microwave is the easiest option.
2. In a separate bowl beat the eggs together.
3. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Add the cinnamon to your liking.
4. Stir the cooked oats into the mixture.
5. Heat oil in a pan on a high heat.
6. Spoon small amounts of the pancake batter into the pan, to form a small sized pancake.
7. When small bubbles begin to appear, flip over, and cook through.
Almond Overload Shake
2 scoops of vanilla protein powder
1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
½ cup uncooked oats
1 tbsp almond butter
½ cup raisins
1. Blend ingredients together very well.
2. If the shake is looking too thick, then add a little more almond milk.
Protein Peanut Balls
1 cup peanut butter smooth or crunchy
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
½ cup quality honey
½ cup uncooked oats
1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl
2. Using your hands roll the mixture into small balls, which are roughly 1 inch.
3. When formed, leave the balls in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Oatmeal Chicken Tenders
1 cup uncooked oats
¾ cup parmesan cheese
1 tbsp fresh thyme, roughly chopped
½ tsp ground black pepper and salt
1lb chicken breast
1. Pre heat oven to 450°
2. In a food processor, pulse the oats until coarsely ground
3. Add the parmesan, thyme, pepper and salt, pulse to combine. Place in a bowl.
4. Bash the chicken to ¼ inch thick and slice into tenders.
5. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs.
6. Dip each piece of chicken in the egg, then dredge into the oat mixture coating evenly.
7. Cook the chicken on a baking sheet, 15mins till golden and the chicken is cooked through.
Oatmeal Banana Cookies
2 over ripe bananas
1 cup uncooked oatmeal
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch sea salt
Pinch baking powder
Chocolate protein powder
1. Pre heat oven to 350°
2. Lightly grease baking sheet.
3. In a decent sized bowl mash the bananas until they are smooth.
4. Mix in the oats, cinnamon, sea salt, baking powder. If the mixture is too thick, add a dash of milk.
5. Put a heaped spoonful at a time onto the backing sheet, leaving a little room between each.
6. Bake for 15mins.
7. Sprinkle with chocolate powder when still hot from the oven.
There you have 5 great ways to enjoy this healthy grain.