Oatmeal…. one of the very underappreciated grains!
Oats are filled with nutrients and what i would call a superfood… even if the word superfood is actually a marketing term. Forget gojiberries, macapowder and cacaonibs…. Oats, in season and local blueberries and even potatoes are my type of super foods!!! Filled with lots of nutrients, are cheap and local… what’s not to love?
But this post is going to focus on oats…. variations of oatmeal… and lastly, a recipe for zoats i.e zucchini oatmeal, which used to a be favourite of mine back in 2014/2015. It may sound strange and maybe like a very tpical vegan thing… to just add vegetables in every meal possible. But zucchini adds volume, creaminess and some greens to your oatmeal… without adding any weird vegetable flavour to it. Don’t knock it till you try it!
So why is oatmeal so amazing?
Oats are rich in fiber and beta glucans which can help lower blood cholesterol… of course, you would need to eat a whole bunch of oatmeal for it to have a significant effect… but it can still make a difference in small amounts, or eating oats on a regular basis.
Oats are rich in fiber which has many positive effects. One, it helps with fullness and satiety. Two, it helps keep your digestive system working as it should… including regular bowel movements… yup, fiber is great for that! Three, it can have a blood sugar lowering effect due to the fiber. For regular humans with no problems with blood sugar this isn’t something to think about, but if you have diabetes two this may be something positive for your health and blood sugar control… and switching sweet cereal or granola for oatmeal with some cinnamon, vanilla or stevia can have a much better effect on your blood sugar! (Though pretty much everyone would benefit switching sugary cereals for oatmeal with toppings such as berrries, cinnamon, nuts and seeds).
Oats also contain resistant starch, a sort of fiber, which can be partially digested by gut bactera and turns into “food” for your gut bactera which has numerous health benefits as a flora of healthy gut bacteria is being shown to have very important impacts on overall health.
Oats can help keep you full for a long time, making it the perfect breakfast or even night snack. Not to mention that oats contain the aminoacid tryptophan, which can convert into serotonin in the brain which is a hormone that can make you feel more tired. Of course… just like with the beta glucans in oats… it would take alot for it to have a super impact on sleepiness, but oats can leave you feeling satisfied in the evenings which in turn can help you sleep better. It is worth giving oats in the evening a try if you struggle with sleep issues, along with other foods that are rich in tryptophan.
Oatmeal is a complex carb, meaning that it slowly digests and releases energy into the blood system which can be positive when working out. Not to mention, oats are actually a rather good source of protein with almost 18g per 100g oats. So in a standard 40-50g portino of oats you are getting around 7-9g protein…. and then if you add some chia seeds, nuts or nut butter and soya milk you will get around 15-20g protein in your meal which is definitely a significant amount of protein in one meal!
And lastly… oats are also a source of iron. Sure, they may not be as bioavailable as meat or animal products but are still a source of iron on a plantbased diet. However, due to the phytic acid that oats contain it does hinder/lower the absorption of iron from oats… but combining your oats with some citric fruit can help increase the absorption of iron!
Chocolate and coffee
Banana and peanut butter
Apple pie oats
Stawberry and cream oats
Blueberry and banana oats
Carrot cake oats
Chocolate chip oats
What to do with oatmeal?
Make oatmeal on the stovetop, or in the microwave
Make overnight oats (recipes)
Make baked oats (recipe)
Make scones using oats (recipe)
Make oatflour, which you can then use to make pancakes, waffles or in recipes
Nuts, seeds, berries, banana, nut butter, fried apple, caramellized banana
You can add zucchini, carrots or even cauliflower to your oats
So onto the recipe part of this post? Zoats… i.e zucchini oats.
To make these oats you neeed:
40-50g rolled oats. Around 200ml water. 1-2tsp chia seeds. 1/2 zucchini, grated. Vanilla and/or cinnamon. Plant based milk of choice. Banana and blueberries.
The best is to make this on the stove as it becomes the creamiest then… but works to just add everything in a bowl and microwave.
In a pot add the oats, chia seeds, water, grated zucchini, vanilla and cinnamon. You can also mash a banana and add to the mix, and use plantbased milk instead of water.
Heat on low/medium and stir every now and then so it doesn’t burn to the pot.
Allow to cook until the right texture according to preference!
Eat warm and add some extra toppings such as blueberries, banana, nut butter etc