Oats are a gluten-free whole grain and a powerhouse of many vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. For toddler and even adults, oats benefits are many, ranging from quick satiety, to regulation of cholesterol and blood sugar, better digestion, and reduced risk of certain cancers as well. Moreover, oats are easy to cook and can be presented to toddlers in both sweet and savoury forms. You can either add milk or yoghurt, chopped fresh fruits and dry fruits to make it naturally sweet, or cook oats with spices and colourful veggies.

Health benefits of oats for kids

Oats are rich in soluble fibre that provides satiety to kids and prevents overeating throughout the day. This helps in managing their weight, thus preventing medical conditions associated with obesity. Just half a cup of oatmeal a day is sufficient to get the best results.

Fibre is very important for your child’s gastrointestinal tract to remain healthy. This can facilitate smooth bowel movements. Oatmeal contains two types of fibre. One is the soluble fibre that absorbs water as it moves through the GI tract and gets fermented by the bacteria, and the other is the insoluble fibre that acts as a bulking agent. Oats have the largest quantity of soluble fibre in the form of beta glucan, more than any other grain. The soluble fibre that it has also decreases LDL, especially when paired with a low-fat diet. It also slows down digestion time, thus helping in better management of blood sugar. This fibre is also believed to reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Oats nutrition:

One cup of oats gives approximately 150 calories, 6 grams of protein, and 4 grams of both insoluble and soluble fibre in total. Oats are also rich in magnesium, thiamin, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, manganese, and iron.

Types of oats:

The porridge prepared with oats is called oatmeal.

When the whole-oat kernels are cleaned and only the inedible hulls are removed, they are called oat groats. The germ, endosperm and bran remain intact in this kind.

Steel cut oats contain the white of the oat grain along with the bran. These are passed through steel cutters that break them into pieces, and hence the name.

Rolled oats are partially cooked by de-hulling and steaming them. They are then flattened between two rollers.

Instant oats are prepared like rolled oats, but they are cooked for a longer period of time, before drying them up. These may have added sweeteners or flavours.

Lesser processed oats have more fibre in them and have more health benefits.

Are oats good for a 2-year-old baby?

Yes, it can be. Prepare the oatmeal with milk rather than water to make it richer in protein and calcium. Adding some yoghurt to the oatmeal will make it probiotic-rich, thus improving your baby’s gut health.

Kid friendly oatmeal recipes:

Oatmeal: The simplest way to make oats for kids is by combining half a cup of oats with one cup of water or milk, and a pinch of salt, before boiling it. Simmer it down and cook it till the oats become soft. You can add vegetables, fruits, nuts or seeds to it.

Overnight oats: This can be a very quick breakfast or snack option that requires no cooking. In a jar, take half a cup of rolled oats, half to one cup of milk, and chopped fruits. Or, you can also add Greek yoghurt, chia or flaxseeds and nuts. Shake the jar until all the ingredients are mixed well and refrigerate it overnight. The mixture will thicken like a pudding the next morning.

Oats upma: Dry roast a cup of rolled oats and let it cool. Add oil, cumin seeds, peanuts and dal to a pan. Add hing, ginger, chillies, curry leaves, onions, and all the vegetables that you want to use and cook it. Sprinkle some salt and turmeric and mix in the dry roasted oats. Add one cup of water and cook it till done.

Oats dosa: Finely blend oats into a powder and mix it with salt, semolina, rice flour, cumin, curry leaves, chillies, ginger, and chopped onions. You can add curd if you want. Mix it all to form a runny batter by adding sufficient water. Keep it aside for ten to fifteen minutes and spread it like a dosa on a hot tawa. Fry before serving.

Oats egg omelette: Mix oats flour, turmeric, salt, pepper, and oregano in a bowl. Add milk to it to form a batter. Add two eggs and beat the mixture until frothy. Pour the batter on a hot pan and add the vegetables. Cook it on both sides and serve hot.

Oats fruit smoothie: Soak the oats overnight in water. Blend it the next day with any fruit of your choice into a smooth consistency. You can also add soaked almonds and cashews and garnish the smoothie with cinnamon powder.

Side effects of oats for babies:

Although oats are well-tolerated by all, kids sensitive to avenin may experience adverse symptoms, similar to those of gluten intolerance. In

such cases, oats should be avoided. Even if the oats is gluten free, it might be contaminated by other grains like wheat, making it harmful for kids with celiac disease or wheat allergy.

To learn more about nutrition dense meal options to include in your child’s diet visit www.ceregrow.in