A major study by Harvard University has found that adding wholegrains, such as oats, to your diet could be key to a long and healthy life. Wholegrain oats also contain beta-glucans, which have been found to help lower cholesterol and in turn, can help to protect against heart disease*. We all know how to make a bowl of delicious creamy porridge, but not everyone likes porridge or wants to make it everyday. So how else can you add more oats to your diet and reap these heart healthy benefits?
We've put together a little list of seven easy ways to incorporate more oats into your diet even if you’re not a fan of porridge!
1. Make Breakfast Bars
Instead of grabbing a piece of toast on your way out the door every morning why not make a batch of oat based breakfast bars? You can pack them full of protein or your favourite fruit and nuts, whatever tickles your breakfast bar fancy. The best bit is they can be cooked in advance and kept in an airtight container - just right for breakfast on-the-go or for an anytime snack!Recipe : Mornflake Energy Bars
2. Overnight Oats
Make your very own bircher muesli by soaking oats over night in apple or orange juice with grated apple. You can also soak them in milk if preferred or yogurt for a creamier consistency. Keeps well in the fridge for a few days and just simply top with your favourite fruit and nuts when you're ready to eat. A perfect breakfast alternative or serve as a dessert.Recipe : Mango & Coconut Overnight Oats
3. Thicken your Smoothie with oats
Simply add 40g of Oats or Oatbran to your favourite smoothie recipe and whizz up in a blender. It's a great way to thicken a smoothie and for a healthy meal on-the-go.Recipe : Raspberry Oatbran Smoothie
4. Oat Pancakes
Pancakes are not just for Shrove Tuesday! Ideal for breakfast or an afternoon snack, you can drizzle them in honey or pack them full of protein. Just simply whizz up oats with eggs and a few other simple ingredients to make your oat-based batter - it couldn't be simplerRecipe : Hearty Oat Pancakes
5. Use as an Alternative to Breadcrumbs
Instead of coating your chicken or fish with breadcrumbs why not try using oats or oatbran? This healthier option creates the perfect crispy crunch; you won't even notice the difference!Recipe : Tuna Thai Fishcakes
6. Beef out your food
Transform your staple meatball or burger recipe by using oats. This not only helps bulk them out but also gives them a wonderful texture and you won't be able to taste the oats at all! You can use turkey instead of beef mince for an even healthier option or go meat free and make veggie versions!Recipe : Vegetable Burger Recipe
Oatbran is produced from oats by extracting the bran from the outer layer of the oat. Oatbran is rich in soluble and insoluble fibre (basically the good stuff) and it's great for sprinkling into soups and sauces or on salads and cereals. So what are you waiting for, sprinkle away!
*As part of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, oat beta glucans have been shown to help lower blood cholesterol. Blood cholesterol lowering may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.