Power breakfasts can be hard to keep exciting and porridge is the classic example of this. I know so many people who suffer through eating the same old “bowl of mush” every morning and it’s a shame, really, because porridge is a great breakfast for active individuals. And it has tons of potential for delighting the taste buds!…..
Oats are full of nutritional benefits. They’re high in beta-glucan, which, when consumed regularly, can help reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad one) levels, resulting in improved heart health and blood sugar. Oats also provide a hefty dose of magnesium, a mineral that most of us don’t get enough of. Magnesium is critical for energy production and a magnesium deficiency will negatively affect the body’s ability to utilize calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K. And, as you probably already know, oats also provide a hefty dose of fibre that will help keep your digestive tract happy and regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates.
How to Liven Up Your Porridge
Whether you slowly simmer minimally processed oats or simply add water to the instant stuff, these five easy options will help make your morning porridge not only more exciting and flavourful, but more nutritious.
Adding dairy milk, or any nondairy alternative, improves porridge’s texture, making it feel a bit more “creamy.” More importantly, milk provides protein to help round out porridges’s nutritional profile as oats only provide a small amount of incomplete protein. Use a bit less water when adding milk to porridge, so that the consistency doesn’t get too thin.
Experiment with: cow’s milk, goat’s milk, soy milk, almond milk.
With a little experimentation, you’ll quickly discover that you can improve the flavour of your porridge with a little spice. Just start with a little and slowly add more until the flavour is to your liking (you can always add more, but it’s much harder to remove what you put in). Many spices also improve digestion and cinnamon, a popular porridge addition, helps regulate blood sugar metabolism and is especially helpful for those suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Experiment with: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, allspice.
This might be the simplest way to improve your porridge experience. Grab a handful of your favourite nuts or seeds and toss them into your bowl to create a more interesting texture and boost your meal’s nutritional value. Nuts and seeds are packed full of quality fats, which not only help satiate, but can also help nourish connective tissue and may even improve your mood. Some folks enjoy swirling nut butters into their porridge as well. Give it a try!
Experiment with: almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds.
Sure, you could settle for the standard raisins or dried apples that are often found in instant porridge, but there are many other more exotic options to explore. I really like adding fresh fruit early in the cooking process because it breaks down and infuses the porridge with flavour. Fruit also provides additional vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
Experiment with: bananas, pears, figs, pineapple, plums, berries.
While we all should be mindful of our sugar intake, adding a touch of sweetener to a batch of porridge will help to ensure that the final product does not taste like gruel. The sweeteners listed below do contain a decent amount of simple sugars, but are balanced by B vitamins and minerals that help the body use those sugars more efficiently.
Experiment with: molasses, real maple syrup, coconut sugar.
To get you started, here’s one of my favourite porridge recipes.
Banana Coconut Oatmeal
Total Time: 12 min. / Prep Time: 5 min / Cooking Time: 7 min / Yield: 2 servings
What You Need:
1 cup water
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
¼ tsp. sea salt
1 medium banana, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 Tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cardamom
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
Let’s Get Cooking:
1. Bring water to a boil in medium saucepan over high heat.
2. Add oats, coconut oil, and salt; cook, over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for 5 to 6 minutes.
3. Add banana, coconut, cinnamon, and cardamom; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the banana softens. Remove from heat.
4. Add almond milk; serve immediately.