The old saying goes breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper and, for a lot of people, a right royal breakfast means one thing: porridge.
But what if you’re not a fan? For each person who loves the stuff there’s another who despises it, often thanks to awful childhood memories of gloopy water-based cement, or because it leaves them feeling bloated. Many say it fills them up until lunchtime, while others find the lower protein content doesn’t do the trick in keeping them full for long enough, or they have to add so much syrup to stomach it that it negates the porridge’s benefits entirely.
So, what are your options? We’re big porridge fans and we reckon that we could persuade a few of you to give it another go – perhaps even become a porridge convert – with some delicious variations. If you would like to learn how to include porridge in your diet, here are some ideas to liven up your morning bowl of oats:
Simple variations like adding bee pollen, honey and pear to your porridge can liven up an otherwise routine breakfast
Sometimes the problem with porridge is how it is made or what you are making it with; decide if you like the bigger, chewier oats, or a smoother consistency. If you like the rougher type, opt for whole rolled oats, or if you prefer the smoother bowl, choose the porridge oats.
The other thing to consider is what liquid you use to make your porridge –water, milk, milk alternatives, even fruit juice. Give different options a try before you write porridge off entirely – some of the sweeter milk alternatives such as rice milk or almond milk can be really nice in porridge.
Soak some oats overnight in a fruit juice – apple is always good. Add some berries - if you’re using frozen, add them to the overnight soaking mixture. In the morning, whizz this up with some yoghurt, a banana and further juice or water to make the consistency you wish. This is delicious and has all the health benefits and more of a bowl of porridge.
Orange juice bircher muesli with strawberries, flaked almonds and blueberries.
Make your porridge as usual but try adding some frozen fruit as you make it – raspberries are a winner, turning the whole thing pink, which might be just enough to distract you from bad porridge memories.
Once you’ve made your porridge, try giving yourself some surprising mouthfuls by adding handfuls of seeds – pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, chia seeds as well as dried fruit, such as chopped dates and dried apricots. A nice way to top this off is with some fresh pomegranate seeds, giving your mouth a bit zing first thing in the morning.
Porridge bowl with bananas, nuts, yoghurt and goji berries
If it is the consistency of porridge that doesn’t suit you, these breakfast boulders by Livias Kitchen give you all the benefits of porridge oats, but in a deliciously crunchy, nutty cereal. Bear in mind, though, that while these claim to be gluten free, oats often contain traces of gluten, so if you suffer from Coeliac disease, or have a severe intolerance to gluten, make sure you choose a brand that is guaranteed to be gluten free – even traces.
For a treat, add some bananas fried in maple syrup, cinnamon and a few chocolate chips to your porridge
However if porridge is complete ‘no no’, then don’t panic. There are hundreds of other breakfast options to get you going. It’s worth thinking about the following things:
Try to avoid the commercial cereals that tend to be high in sugar. That said, there are some very good low or no sugar-based nut and grain cereals available these days, which taste great with some natural yoghurt, giving you that all-important protein boost to kickstart your day.
For some delicious recipe ideas, take a look at our Breakfast like a Champion article.
A breakfast high in protein and good fats ensures your energy levels are maintained and you don’t have peaks and troughs of energy that you would get if you had a high carb high sugar start to the day. Porridge is high in fibre and contains protein and lots of vitamins and minerals. However, just be careful how much of the ‘sweet stuff’ you add in, otherwise it can counterbalance all that goodness.
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