Rolled oats are inexpensive and easy to prepare. They have a good balance of complex carbohydrates, protein, essential fatty acids and minerals to keep a sustained level of energy throughout the day.
Oats also contain tryptophan, an important nutrient because it is the raw material that is converted into serotonin and melatonin by the pineal gland as well as niacin or vitamin B3.The neurotransmitter serotonin is one of the key bio-chemicals that maintain our moods. When serotonin levels are low, we are more prone to depression, anxiety, panic attacks, or insomnia. Low serotonin can also be a factor in tension, irritability, and aggressive behaviour. Excessive stress may cause depletion of the body’s tryptophan.
Oats contain a specific fibre known as beta-glucans which aid the excretion of cholesterol and increases the body’s ability to fight off bacterial infection; the fibre in oats help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart attack as well as lower the risk of breast cancer in pre-menopausal women. The magnesium in oats is a co-factor in over 300 enzymes including those that are involved in the body’s use of glucose and insulin so they also reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes which is on the increase in NZ.
Porridge too is a great option for winter – warming and quick! Just add some fruit and nuts and use a good quality maple syrup or molasses instead of brown sugar and you have a healthy breakfast! Oats can also be added to a smoothie for those that prefer breakfast on the run.
1 c linseed
1 c bran flakes
3⁄4 c sunflower seeds
3⁄4 c sesame seeds
1 c cocnut
1 c wheat germ
1 c chopped nuts of choice
3⁄4 c pumpkin seeds
5 c rolled oats (small)
1 c dried fruit of choice (apricots, pears, dates, figs, sultanas, raisins, papaya, etc.)
Combine all ingredients and store in a large jar. Serve with your milk choice and some fresh fruit and yoghurt. Try sliced banana, grated apples, berries, fruit puree, or fruit juice. Add a little runny honey or maple syrup if sweetening is required.
You can substitute a cup of oats for another grain such as rolled or flaked barley, rye, amaranth or quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa)
If you have a child aged between 9-12 months grind the muesli in a food processor, cover with some warm water and soak for around 15 minutes and mix with pureed fruit and yoghurt to serve.
Omit the dried fruit and bake at 160º Celsius with ¾ cup oil and ¾ cup honey, stirring every 5 minutes until golden brown for delicious toasted muesli. Add the dried fruit if desired, once cool. Store in a large air-tight jar. Toasted muesli is great for a bit of crunch on top of some yoghurt or stewed fruit for a snack or dessert.
Soak overnight in some fruit juice, yoghurt and milk of choice with a grated apple. Serve with some fresh fruit or thawed frozen berries.