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Advice to eat healthy comes from every single corner of the world, especially if you are pregnant for the first time. Oats are a healthy option in everyday life, no doubt, and a pregnant woman does require a diet that is healthy and nutritious for herself and the baby. However, many women wonder if oats should be a part of their pregnancy diet.
Can You Eat Oats in Pregnancy?
The short answer to that question is a resounding YES! Oats are absolutely safe to be consumed during pregnancy. Oats are known to contain a lot of important nutrients that are quite essential for a budding mother in the prenatal stage. This makes oats one of the top items in the list of food a pregnant woman should have.
Benefits of Eating Oats While Pregnant
Some of the benefits of this high-fibre food are:
Great Energy Source
Pregnant women need a regular dose of energy throughout the day. Just a small serving of oats contains enough carbohydrates and calories to give a great boost of energy during the day.
Has Complex Carbohydrates
As opposed to the simple carbohydrates in everyday food items, these carbohydrates take time in breaking down and digest slowly. This keeps your blood sugar at a healthy level and reduces the risk of gestational diabetes. A slow digestion process also ensures gradual and healthy weight gain.
Rich in Fibre
Oats contain a considerable amount of fibre. This is a godsend for all pregnant women suffering from the usual bouts of constipation, as fibre helps in regulating the process of digestion and improves bowel movement.
Contains Vital Minerals
Potassium, phosphorous, calcium, selenium, magnesium, and manganese are just some of the minerals that are part of oats. Each of them has tons of benefits, right from improving your immunity to boosting your bone health and tooth formation, consequently ensuring great development and growth of your baby.
Has Necessary Vitamins
Healthy insides and healthy outsides are what keeps all pregnant women happy. With the presence of B Vitamins, folate, and Pantothenic acid, all the fat and protein in the body is broken down in an efficient manner, which also keeps the membranes of the mucous healthy and strong.
Rich in Folic Acid
Out of all vitamins and minerals, folic acid is one that no pregnant women should forget to take. It is highly essential in the development of the nervous system and the brain of the foetus and avoids any disorders from occurring.
No more risk of being anaemic, when simply one serving of oats on a daily basis takes care of 10 per cent requirement of iron. Complemented with a great diet, this is a great boost to maintaining your health.
Ways to Add Oats to Your Pregnancy Diet
Here are some simple ways to add oats to your diet during pregnancy.
The Classic Way
Oats are best enjoyed with hot milk and water, with a small teaspoon of honey in it. Further accompanied by some nice vegetables or adding some vanilla essence, if that suits you, can make for a heavenly breakfast.
No More Traditional Flour
The usual maida is not exactly a healthy option during pregnancy since that can easily add to your weight and increase the risk of diabetes. Simply using oat flour instead of it can help you make healthy alternatives to various cakes, bread, cookies, and most of the other dishes that are made with maida.
Grab Those Bars
Now is the time to take as many granola bars as you can and chew on them as a quick snack. These bars not only contain oats but other nuts and berries as well, which make for a nutritional and energetic bite.
Oats Can Be Tasty, Too
Most people are introduced to oats in its bland and health-conscious form. A little experimentation will quickly reveal the flavours that complement the taste of oats impeccably. Some cinnamon powder, maybe a little maple syrup, milk, cream, ice-cream, fruits, brown sugar, and many others are great to be paired with oats and make them tasty.
Be a Master Chef
Cooking oats is a no-brainer since there is literally no complexity to how they need to be cooked. Go ahead and try out various permutations and combinations to unlock that secret dish that is not only healthy but great to taste, too.
Side Effects of Consuming Oats When Pregnant
For all the health benefits of oats, there are some side effects one can experience, even while consuming oatmeal during pregnancy first trimester.
- Consuming oats excessively is known to cause indigestion and diarrhoea in a few cases. Limit the quantity to a healthy proportion.
- Certain women have experienced a blocked intestine by consuming a lot of oats. This is a serious problem during pregnancy and should be addressed immediately.
- If you are allergic to gluten, there are chances of you being allergic to oats as well. Try and find alternatives if you can.
- Instant oats are not a healthy option. Instead, look for steel-cut oats or rolled oats, as they possess the health benefits mentioned earlier.
Delicious Oats Granola Bars Recipe
These granola bars are tasty, healthy, and super easy to make. They’re a great option for a breakfast bar, between-meals snack, or if you’re craving something sweet. The recipe is adaptable, so add your favourite fruits, nuts, or any other ingredient.
2 cups of oats
3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds (roasted)
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds (roasted)
1/2 cup of almonds (sliced)
1/2 cup of dried berries (cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, goji berries)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
How to Make:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Line a baking dish (9* 13 inches) with butter/ parchment paper and set aside.
3. Mash the bananas in a large bowl, until you get a smooth puree-like consistency.
4. Add the vanilla and mix well.
5. Blend the oats in a blender or food processor until you get a coarse consistency.
6. Add the oats to the banana mixture and stir.
7. Add the other ingredients and mix thoroughly. You should get a heavy, slightly wet consistency.
8. Spoon the mixture on the prepared baking dish. Slightly wet your hands and press down on the dough until it is compact and flat.
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until it is firm and golden-brown at the edges.
10. Let it cool completely, and cut into rectangular bars.
11. These can be stored for a week in the fridge and for a month in the freezer.
With any food item or consumable, as healthy as it might be, moderation is always the key. Oats are a great addition to your diet, but cannot be your main source of all nutrition and energy. Complement them regularly with your standard foods and make for tasty snacks whenever possible.
References and Resources: Livestrong
Also read: Consuming Sweet Potatoes In Pregnancy