Whole-grain oats are extremely good for you and far more versatile than you might think. Start incorporating more oats into your balanced diet with these new ways to use this delicious grain.
Whole-grain oats are full of healthy fibres that help lower cholesterol, reduce your chances of heart disease and regulate your blood sugar levels. They are also a wonderful source of iron and plant proteins. Unfortunately many of us don’t manage to incorporate an adequate amount of oats into our diets because we don’t know enough about how to use them. A bowl of oatmeal isn’t the only way to make use of this yummy grain. It can be added to your diet in far more ways than you know.
As a flour
Like many other grains, oats can be ground into a fine powder. Simply place a few scoopfuls in your blender and pulse firmly. You will have a flourlike substance that is great for cooking with. This is particularly useful if you know someone with an allergy to gluten, as oat flour is a perfect substitute for wheat flour. If a recipe calls for a cup of flour, simply pulse a slightly rounded cup of oats in your food processor, and proceed with the directions, using the blended mixture as your flour. It’s never been easier to make baked goods gluten-free and healthy to boot!
As a thickener
Ground oats are also a healthy way to thicken some of your favourite dishes. Adding a little bit of oat flour to soups or sauces can give them a unique flavour and create a nice, thick texture. To get started experimenting with oats in this way, consider trying out Martha Stewart’s Banana-Oat Smoothie. No more boring bowls of oatmeal to start your day!
As a homemade snack
It’s all too easy for us to get a little lazy and grab a few boxes of granola bars at the grocery store to act as snacks. But those “healthy” treats often have sugar as their first or second ingredient, which can leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied moments after. Instead of relying on store-bought snack packs and bars, make your own delicious homemade treats to take with you on the go. Sound like a lot of work? It doesn’t have to be. Simply whip up some healthy homemade granola bars on the weekend, and package them up to take with you throughout the week.
Most important, don’t be afraid to experiment with oats. They have a neutral taste and can therefore be included in many baked goods, so you can get the health benefits without even noticing you’ve made a change. Cookies, pancakes, muffins and more can all be improved with a couple of scoops of oats. So have fun with this delicious and healthy grain!