Oats and More

When I'm not eating anything cinnamon related, I'm probably eating something to do with oats.

They're such a healthy food that you can kid yourself you're doing your body some good - even when they're smothered in cream and syrup.

Oats are well-known as being good for the heart and they contain beta-glucan, a soluble fibre that can help to reduce cholesterol.

In addition they are high in fibre and low in fat, keeping you full right until lunchtime. There's a reason why the Scots are so strong! The fibre also aids digestion and so you'll have a happy tummy (or small intestine) too.

Being a low-GI food they release energy slowly and so there's no high and then a slump as you'd get with many sugary products; you just keep ticking away!

Have I converted you yet?

I'd forgotten to add that they also taste scrumptious and are so versatile - have them for breakfast, snack, dinner… 

Here are a few of my favourite products:

Nature Valley Crunchy Bars
If you haven't tried these yet you should be ashamed. Crispy oats baked with honey or maple syrup to give them a sweetness and a satisfying crunch. Brilliant on the go or with morning coffee! (Tip - buy the variety pack for ultimate enjoyment.)

Nairn's Oaty Bakes
Another snack food, these are a lovely alternative to crisps. They taste wholesome, aren't too heavy and come in three yummy flavours - sweet chilli, cheese or caramelised onion.  They're slightly lighter than the traditional oatcake; and whilst the packet may seem small it can hold a lot of little crackers! 

Jordan's Crunchy Oat Raisin and Almond Granola

I think I have quite possibly found the most delicious granola ever. It's simple, it's sweet, it's chewy, it's crunchy; it tastes heavenly with milk, yoghurt or banana; it's everything you could ever want in one bowl. 

Quaker Oats' Oat So Simple

Can't be bothered making a porridge from scratch? Measured out in handy little portions, mix a sachet of milled oats with some milk and pop it in the microwave for three minutes et voilĂ ! Perfect porridge in an instant. Have it plain and choose your own topping or try the flavoured ones - my favourite's the golden syrup flavour. 

Marks and Spencers' Granola Squares
One of these + a glass of cold milk = heaven on a plate. Soft and chewy flapjacks, filled with plump raisins and juicy cranberries, mixed with toasted sunflower seeds… I've already had one today but writing this post has made me crave another. You'll have to buy them fresh from the bakery and eat them quickly before they go stale - what a pity! I'm working on devising my own version of this - keep your eyes peeled! Sainsbury's also does a good version of these too. 

And let's have a look at some recipes!

Sweet or savoury, crumbles are an essential part of cooking. Once you've got the basic oats-flour-butter mix made the world's your oyster! Try mixing it with a little cheese and sprinkling it over ratatouille for a tasty veggie main; or go traditional and add sugar for an apple crumble. Add  raisins and a little cinnamon and you're off! 

Find a basic sweet crumble recipe here, omitting the nuts if you wish.

I haven't actually tried any of these but I've heard about the benefits of putting oats in your smoothie; one example would be in Lauren Conrad's Seven Days to Skinny JeansHave you ever tried adding oats to your morning drink?

Bircher Muesli
I love this stuff. Creamy, fruity and very, very good for you. I haven't yet come upon the perfect recipe but I have enjoyed several different versions; may I recommend the one from Pret? It's a lovely pot that cheered me up after a horrendously early plane flight at Easter. Here are a couple of recipes that I think look really tasty - Bircher Muesli with Almond and Apple and Mixed Berry Bircher Muesli.

Have you any favourite oaty goods?

This post is entirely unsponsored; it's all my own opinions!