First Foods Focus: Oats

I seem to be forever writing about oats and porridge on my Instagram and blog. And that’s for a very good reason! OATS are a wonderful food and porridge is one of Raffy’s favourite meals…EVER!

Oats are:

  • Cheap
  • Nutrient-rich
  • Energy-dense
  • Filling
  • Delicious

And

  • Versatile….

At the end of this week I’ll be sharing a whole list of my FAVOURITE porridge recipes for you to try. Mainly because variety is SO key when it comes to feeding our little ones.

Many people get stuck with the idea of just offering porridge to baby as it is – with just a little milk. And this is fine to do, especially at the beginning of weaning when baby is getting used to first tastes.

However, soon into weaning, porridge (or really any brekkie cereal) can offer a great way to get other food groups and nutrients into baby’s diet too.

First up, what kind of oats are OK for baby?

Many, many people ask what type of oats are OK to serve to baby, and the answer to that is ANY! I usually recommend people use whatever oats they normally have at home and use as a family. Rolled, ground, plain, porridge or even baby porridge, initially.

Whatever works is fine. Some have some added benefits, e.g Ready Brek has added nutrients and rolled oats add some nice texture. Ultimately, it’s best to just offer what you tend to have as a family so you can eat together and have the same foods.

Why are oats good nutritionally?

  • Whole oats are natural wholegrains – meaning that they contain all three parts of the grain – the endosperm, the bran and the germ – complete with all the grain’s nutrients.
  • They are also a good source of fibre. For a food to claim that it is ‘high’ in fibre, the EU states that it must have at least 6g of fibre per 100g of a product. Oats have around 8g/100g – making them a fantastic, high fibre food.
  • Of particular interest is a specific fibre found in oats – beta glucan, which may have a beneficial impact on lowering blood cholesterol levels.
  • Oats also contain vitamins, minerals and ‘phytochemicals’ which are elements of plants such as flavonoids and antioxidants that are thought to be beneficial for our health.
  • Oats contain B vitamins, which help us to release energy from our foods, alongside minerals such as folate, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium. Therefore, they are a great way to offer a few vitamins and minerals in the morning too!
  • Oats also contain protein and tend to leave people feeling fairly satiated (nice and full) after eating them. This is good for little ones who tend to need lots of energy in the morning to fuel their endless activities!

How to eat them?

One of the best things about oats are they are SO versatile. You can use them to make porridge (obviously), but you can also simply add a handful of oats to your current breakfast cereal if you’re not a porridge lover, to help add a few vitamins and some fibre to your morning feast.

You can also add them easily to smoothies, smoothie bowls, make porridge bars and fingers with them as well as sprinkle them into salads.

Overnight oats are a fav of mine and you can also make bircher muesli with them too.

Lastly, let’s not forget that oats are FAB for making puddings with. Muffins, cakes and my summer oatie crumble are good examples or simply adding them with some chopped fruit and a bit of yogurt is so simple and tasty too.

Charlotte's Overnight Oats Recipe

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