There’s nothing quite like a big bowl of porridge for your breakfast.
It's certainly much better for your health than skipping your breakfast.
But is porridge a healthy breakfast choice for you and are there ways you can make it even healthier?
Let’s now have a closer look now at this breakfast favourite you can enjoy daily without having to pile on the brown sugar!
The benefits of porridge for breakfast
Overall, eating porridge can be a nutritious start to your day.
Much of this good news is thanks to the addition of the oats.
Having a quick look at oats you'll find they are:
- Nutrient-dense. They contain significant levels of minerals and a great source of vitamins such as vitamin B1, vitamin B5, folate, iron, magnesium and also manganese.
- A great source of fibre and protein for you.
- A source of a prebiotic fibre known as beta-glucan. Research has found beta-glucan may reduce blood sugar levels, keep you fuller for longer, encourage the growth of good bacteria in the gut and even reduce cholesterol levels!
- Rich in antioxidants. One group, avenanthramides, may help to reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure naturally
Porridge might also contain many more additional health benefits.
This can depend on the liquid you cook it in, and any other ingredients you add in.
What if you can’t have oats in your porridge?
Some people are allergic to oats, and some people with Coeliac disease are unable to tolerate oats at all.
So there are other options for you if you can't use oats.
You can use other options such as quinoa flakes, barley flakes or lupin flakes to make your porridge.
Check thoroughly when you're looking at any of the alternatives to oats and If you're unsure, ask for help.
The potential downsides of porridge
Porridge can be time-consuming to cook for you.
It might be a good option for a chilly weekend or someone who has some time in the morning.
But still, if you want to cook oats properly you need time to do it.
You can use quick-cook oats to speed this process up.
But many of the quick oats contain added sugars and other additives that are less than ideal for a healthy breakfast!
Porridge also could be a little low in protein as a breakfast option for you.
It’s a good idea to get a good serve of protein in at breakfast, because it can keep you feeling satisfied for up to 24hrs afterwards.
Depending on the milk that you use and your serving size, you might be looking at 10-15g of protein at max.
Another nutrient that is fairly low in porridge is fat.
Good fats are full of vitamins and antioxidants that are beneficial for wellbeing.
As oats are quite low in fat naturally, your only real potential source of fat in porridge is in the milk you can add to it.
Finally, porridge by itself does not contain any fruit or vegetables.
This may seem like a lightbulb moment, but it's true.
It’s always best to get at least one serve of fruit or vegetables in your breakfast.
Luckily, this is easy to remedy with some additions to your mix.
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How to make a balanced bowl of porridge
Want to make yourself a healthy porridge for breakfast?
Here are some tricks to make sure your bowl is balanced and, at the same time, nutrient-dense.
Add in a source of protein
Just because you're eating oatmeal doesn't mean you have to miss out on an opportunity to get your protein fix.
Almond and peanut butter, protein powder, yoghurt and milk are a few options to consider adding.
Pop in a source of healthy fats
Nuts, seeds (including chia seeds), nut and seed butters, coconut and coconut yoghurt are a few options to consider adding.
All of these above and similar types of nuts and seeds can bee added to increase the fat content of your breakfast porridge.
Another way to get a few more fats and adding a bit of natural sweetness is cutting up a Trail Mix Wholefoods Bar and adding it to the top of your bowl of oats.
Don’t forget your dose of fruit
It’s also great way to sweeten your porridge naturally.
If you want to sneak in some vegetables as well, you can add a couple of super greens smoothie cubes to cover your fruit and veg in one.
Getting spicy with it
A dash of spices can add plenty of flavour along with a good dose of antioxidants for you.
You can sprinkle in some cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, ginger, cardamom, allspice or even some turmeric.
Just remember to start small with the serve of spice first and foremost.
You can add in more spice easily, but it's very hard to take it away once you've added too much.
A great way to start your day is with porridge
You need to make sure you start your day with a nutrient dense healthy breakfast option.
Porridge and oats have you covered in this regard.
And if you add in the extra ingredients, well that's even better for you and the taste of your porridge.
So porridge is a healthy breakfast choice in the end.
But it's what you do with the rest of your meals that can see you making a holistic and healthy change to your diet.
Starting your day well and then backing this up with good healthy choices for the rest of your day can help make a huge difference to your health in the end.