Well if it’s good enough for goldilocks and the three bears, it’s good enough for me! Hot or cold, eaten as a meal or a snack, oats porridge is a quick, adaptable and filling food. Whether you take yours with salt if you live north of the border or with an obligatory scoop of protein powder for fitness fans, this staple food source always goes down a treat with my clients. In this post, I’m going to tell you why oats is one of my go-to foods and why I love it so much.
Why I recommend porridge to my weight loss clients
1. Speed and convenience: a bowl of oats can be made in 2-3 minutes in the microwave
2. Gut friendly: the resistant starch promotes beneficial gut bacteria, which helps digestion
3. Low glycemic index: a slow release energy source that keeps you fuller for longer
4. Filling: a substantial snack or meal which can be eaten any time of the day
5. Healthy substitute: can be used instead of wheat flour in many recipes
6. Versatile: Pretty much anything can be added to them to make a tasty meal
Which oats should I buy?
Oats all start off as oat groats which are the whole, unprocessed grains. Once harvested they are usually roasted straight away at very low temperatures for two reasons
1. to give them a nice roasted flavour
2. to deactivate enzymes to improve shelf life
With so many different types, prices, flavours and specifications it can be quite daunting going to a supermarket to buy some porridge. The options include Steel cut, Irish, Scottish, Rolled, Instant, Gluten Free, and a wide range of flavoured oats…Where do you start?
Well, for starters your Steel cut, Irish, Scottish oats are all the same because they are the most unprocessed form of the groat you’ll find in a supermarket. For this reason, they take the longest to cook, their texture is chewy and they keep their shape even after they are cooked.
Then your Rolled, Old Fashioned and Whole oats are the groats that have been slightly processed. They are steamed to make them soft and pliable then pressed to flatten them. They cook faster than the above version and absorb more liquid, forming a fluffy porridge.
Instant Oats or quick oats are the most processed version of oats you will get. They are typically pre-cooked, dried and then rolled and pressed, then cut finely. They cook quickly but retain less texture and are often found to be heavily sweetened and flavoured.
Gluten-free oats can be up to £2-3 more expensive than traditional oats and are very rarely required from a health point of view.
All these varieties of oats have similar properties, apart from the instant or quick oats which have added flavouring, so the choice comes down to time and budget. Whatever you decide on, make sure you have a box or two in your kitchen cupboard at all times so that you always have a healthy snack or meal on hand.
So will oats help me to lose weight? AKA the research bit.
It’s not a magical cure to weight loss, I’m afraid. But when comparing calories, porridge is certainly a better choice than having a full english breakfast of sausages, bacon, beans, black pudding and buttery toast etc. Porridge will also keep you fuller for longer, than a bowl of Special K on a cold winters morning.
Oats contain less calories gram for gram and has more protein, fibre and fat in it, thus being more satiating and filling. A study using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2001-2010, has shown that oatmeal consumption is associated with better diet quality and lower body mass index in adults. The study concluded that people who ate porridge were consistent with better nutrient intake and a higher diet quality.
To show you just how versatile this humble grain can be, I’m going to share with you one of my favourite baked oats recipes. Enjoy!
Recipe: Baked Oats Davey Style
200g oats (50g blended 150g unblended)
300ml boiling water
200g liquid egg whites
1tsp baking powder
200g 0% fat Greek yoghurt
1/2 tsp stevia
Mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg etc to taste
- Mix oats, baking powder, stevia and spices in a bowl.
- Add 1/2 yoghurt and boiling water and mix throughly. Cover and leave 15 mins till set.
- Mix in egg white and rest of Greek yoghurt with half of the raspberries.
- Line a baking dish with baking paper and spread rest of raspberries around the bottom of dish and pour over the oats mixture.
- In preheated oven bake at 200 degrees for 30-40 mins till set.
- Leave to cool for 3-4 hours and eat like cake 🙂
Total calories comes to 1000, but split into 4 they are 250 kcals per slice, making it an ideal brekkie or mid morning/afternoon snack with a green tea.
- Nutr Res. 2015 Dec;35(12):1052-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2015.09.015. Epub 2015 Oct 5. Oatmeal consumption is associated with better diet quality and lower body mass index in adults: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2001-2010. Fulgoni VL 3rd1, Chu Y2, O’Shea M2, Slavin JL3, DiRienzo MA4.