Winter has arrived with an icy blast and for some this is the time to ditch the fruit and yogurt or muesli option and switch to winter breakfast mode with porridge.
But these part-timers are missing a treat for the rest of the year. Porridge, like a puppy, is not just for Christmas (or winter). It’s the perfect start to your day, every day.
So, if it’s not yet part of your daily breakfast routine, here are ten tips to get you motivated:
1. Heart health: Few foods achieve the status of having scientific proof of their amazing health benefits, but oats lower cholesterol, blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease
2. No more snacking: They land in your tummy like a delicious, warm concrete mixture, providing the building blocks for an energetic and productive day, while keeping hunger and any thoughts of snacks at bay.
3. Feeling good: Becoming ‘health aware’ and conscious of what foods we eat means we feel better about ourselves and this boosts self-esteem. So, oats are good for our hearts, our arteries, our blood pressure, our brain function and our mental health too, because you will feel better.
4. Portions a plenty: We live in a portion-aware world and should be careful not to overeat. But we can indulge freely in a hearty serving of porridge. The bigger the oats (jumbo are preferable) the slower the process of breaking them down and the longer we feel full. So fill that bowl right up!
5 Regular movement: Science is advancing all the time and new studies and advice state we need to increase our fibre intake to improve bowel health, an increasing medical concern due to the rise of bowel cancer. Look no further than porridge, which contains all the soluble and insoluble fibre you need.
6 Mix things up: The core ingredient doesn’t change and you can rely on it day after day to do its very best for you. But you can ring the changes with a sprinkle of cinnamon, a flourish of blueberries or adorn your bowl with snipped up dried apricots for a bit of extra of iron and potassium – every bowl can be different.
7 Beware imitations: Don’t fall for the numerous lesser offerings that undo the amazing benefits. Avoid those caked in coconut (high in saturated fats), perked up with peanut butter (high in fat and calories), sweetened with sugar and heaving with honey.
8 Clocking on: With one in eight of the UK working shifts, a bowl of this comfort food will set you up nicely for the day (or night) ahead. Wholegrains are an essential fuel for the body and brain, no matter what your schedule. So it’s a perfect start to a busy working day
9 Be prepared: Soaking your oats overnight, preferably in milk for extra calcium, is not essential but it helps improve the digestibility and absorption of nutrients. Oats are a rich source of vitamin B1, a good source of protein, iron, zinc and a source of niacin and magnesium. So it pays to plan ahead.
10 Portable brekkie: Unlike many healthy and nutritious breakfasts, porridge can be assembled the night before and taken to work and popped in the microwave, or heated up at home and taken in a thermos to be enjoyed at your desk.
Finally, if you are new to porridge, then make sure you follow step 9 and also have it for breakfast for seven consecutive days. After that, you won’t look back. As for a recommended brand, I’m going to recommend Oatfit, by Hiandlofood, as the recipe is mine!
See www.hiandlofood.co.uk for more details and to order.