Oats — Don’t make these rookie mistakes

by Ashleigh Feltham,  Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist

Starting the day with oats is one of the best choices you can make for your body. But you might be missing out on potential nutrition from this breakfast choice. Are you making any of these rookie mistakes?

Serving size

There is half a cup of cooked oats in one serve of wholegrains, and one cup of cooked oats is an adequate serving size for most adults, allowing for an even distribution of our recommended dietary intake of wholegrain serves over a day. But are you getting too enthusiastic with your morning oats? Try measuring how much you are getting at breakfast to make sure you meet your wholegrain need requirements.

Preparing oats with water

Preparing your oats with milk adds a matrix of health benefits. This includes calcium for strong bones and teeth and for normal muscle contraction. Milk contains vitamin B12 and the essential nutrient choline, which is needed for the normal functioning of the central nervous system. Milk also contains iodine, which helps maintain a healthy thyroid.

Oats in a bowl
Bowl of oats with banana

Not adding healthy extras

While oats are a quality whole food, to create a complete meal it needs additional protein from a lean protein or dairy source, and a serving of vegetables or fruit for fibre. Try adding 30g of nuts and seeds or nut butter, 2 eggs, 200g of Greek yoghurt or ½ cup of cottage cheese.

A pouch of South Australian Gourmet Food Company Fruit Custards with Added Fibre contains 11g of dietary fibre per serve — a third of an adult’s daily need of fibre for health. With a choice of Apple, Banana or Strawberry, they are the perfect topper for porridge or overnight oats.

Adding sugar

A drizzle of honey on your oats may seem enticing, but honey is counted as an added sugar. Other toppings like jam, dried fruit and tinned fruit in syrup are also loaded with added sugar. Try swapping these for choices like cinnamon and sliced fresh fruit, or 100% nut butter and sliced banana.

Take home message:

If you are making any of these rookie mistakes, upgrade your breakfast game. An easy swap may help to optimise the nutrition benefits of your oats in the morning