Honestly, these waffles were created quite by accident – I needed to use up some leftover cold porridge – but they turned out so well, they’ve become a regular fixture at our breakfast table. Did I really squeeze a waffle maker in to my tiny little van kitchen? Yep, it doubles as a jaffle maker and it’s brilliant.
Oats are an incredibly nutritious whole grain for kids, when prepared properly. They’re rich in minerals (manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc), vitamins (folate, B1 and B5), and antioxidants. They’re also a good source of carbohydrates for energy and fibre that feeds gut bacteria and keeps blood sugar levels stable. They’re higher in protein than most grains are too.
Oats are a wonderfully calming food for kids, thanks to the amino acid, tryptophan (a precursor to serotonin, our happy hormone), they contain. It’s this, along with relaxing magnesium, that makes them a great way to start the day, especially for any anxious little ones.
I love oats too, because they’re naturally gluten free. Gluten is a protein that’s found in grains like: wheat, rye, barley, kamut and spelt. The confusion comes from the fact that oats are often contaminated with wheat during processing. If your child is coeliac, has a wheat allergy or non-coeliac gluten/wheat sensitivity, look for gluten-free oats to ensure no cross-contamination.
Oats may also decrease the risk of childhood asthma. Studies like this and this show that the early introduction of oats – when solid foods are introduced – may have a protective effect against childhood asthma.
Properly preparing grains involves soaking them overnight in filtered water with a little apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. What this does is breakdown the phytic acid (that all grains, beans and legumes contain). Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient that blocks the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals that kids need for growth and development like: calcium, iron and zinc. Soaking begins the germination process making grains easier to digest and their nutrients more available to be utilised by the body – this is especially important when it comes the developing digestive systems of our little people.
Overnight Oat Waffles
Prep time: 5 mins + overnight – Cook time: 10 mins – Makes: 6
1.5 cups organic rolled oats *gluten-free if necessary
1 cup coconut milk (I use this) or water
1 Tbsp chia seeds
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
2 organic or free-range eggs
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
- In a small bowl, combine oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg and milk (or water) and stir to combine. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
- In a blender, combine soaked oat mixture, eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, coconut oil, baking powder and sea salt and blitz until you have a smooth mixture. Leave the mixture to rest for 10 minutes – you’ll see a few bundle start to appear.
- Heat your waffle iron.
- Scoop 1 ladle of mixture in your waffle iron and cook for approx 3 minutes, or until golden brown. I’ve found that you do need to leave these in to cook a little longer than usual, until they are really nice and golden brown, otherwise they can go soggy.
- Serve with fresh fruit, yogurt and a little drizzle or maple syrup, or my Blueberry Maple Syrup. I keep the leftovers to make a nut butter sandwich with for morning tea the next day.