Porridge an Easy Healthy Breakfast

By: Aniko Silk   On: 5 April 2018 

Porridge is a nutrition and health food powerhouse. It is also an easy healthy breakfast that allows you to cook quickly and finish with different add-ons to suit different family member's diets and preferences.

For a healthy breakfast, porridge has been an important breakfast food over the ages because oats have always been easy to store and a hearty meal that lasted long into the day. In modern times porridge oats continues to serve mankind however with a knowledge of the reason that it sustains us. We know it is an easy healthy breakfast because we know that rolled oats is a whole grain product that is highly nutritious and a Low GI meal making it a very healthy breakfast cereal.

All porridge oats are wholegrains that contain a soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which can help lower your cholesterol level if you eat it daily, as part of a healthy diet. (A 40g serving of porridge oats contains huge 1.6g of beta-glucan). Additionally, porridge gives you the fibre from the whole grain.

Oaten porridge is also high in protein and if you make your porridge on milk you will be getting a good source of calcium. It also contains magnesium so it’s a protection from heart disease and thought to assist in diabetes. Oats can also act as a prebiotic which encourages good bacteria growth in your gut.

 

Types of Porridge Oats

There are 4 types of oats used in breakfast porridges:-

Rolled oats

standard rolled oats are made by steaming the oats and then rolling the whole oat kernel through two rollers that flattens them in to soft even flakes of oat meal. They have always been the main product used in a wide range of meals from porridge, and muesli to toasted granola, oatmeal cookies and many other products.

Steel Cut Oats

Steel-cut oats or Irish oatmeal are the same whole oat kernel chopped into two or three pieces, usually with large steel blades. These were used by the Irish in making porridge. Cooking steel cut oats takes longer than rolled oats and makes a nuttier flavoured, chewy type of porridge. The are also used in other dishes and sometimes as a substitute for rice.

Quick Oats

Quick oats are made by steam rolling the steel cut oats to give you the same product as rolled oats except they give smaller flakes and so can be marginally faster to cook for porridge. Otherwise they are no different to standard rolled oats.

Gluten Free Oats

This is a new name given to rolled oats in USA, UK and Europe in recent years, to assist sales but is misleading as gluten free oats don’t exist..

Oats Nutrition

Rolled oats nutrition is high. A serving of porridge made with just 40g of oats and semi-skimmed milk contains:  6.2g of fat which is 9% or your recommended intake, 2.5g of saturates which is 13% of your recommended intake, 8.2g of sugars which is 9% of recommended intake, 0.2g of salt which is 3% of recommended intake. The same 40g of oats provides rolled oats calories with Energy of 1016kJ / 241kcal, which is 12% of your recommended intake.  And contains 1.6g of beta-glucan. 

Is Porridge Healthy?

A Quote from Wikipedia. “In 1997, after reviewing 33 clinical studies performed over the previous decades, the FDA approved the claim that intaking at least 3g of β-glucan from oats per day decreased saturated fats and reduced the risk of heart disease. This marked the first time a public health agency claimed dietary intervention can actually help prevent disease. This health claim mobilized a dietary movement as physicians and dietitians for the first time could recommend intake of a specific food to directly combat disease. Since then, oat consumption has continued to gain traction in disease prevention with noted effects on ischemic heart disease and stroke prevention, but also in other areas like BMI reduction, blood pressure lowering and highly corroborated evidence for reduced blood serum cholesterol.

β-glucan arose after its cholesterol lowering effect was reported in 1984 that at least 3 g of β-glucan from oats per day decreased saturated fats and reduced the risk of heart disease”

A Flexible Porridge Recipe         

Porridge is a wonderful flexible healthy breakfast that can be adapted and served differently to suit the needs of different family member’s nutrition needs or weight loss needs. The one preparation of porridge can just be adjusted as its served to make a great variation of healthy breakfast serves. Here are some Porridge recipe variations: -

A Porridge Recipe for Weight Loss

If you’re eating for weight loss then serve your porridge first. Porridge is a great choice for a healthy breakfast that will help when it is made with skim milk or water and unsweetened and if you don’t add extra sugar or salt to your porridge as a sugar free breakfast, it will be good for your heart health.

Porridge Recipe for A High energy diet needing Low GI foods.

This is were oaten porridge really shines. Oatmeal is a whole grain product, which means it contains plenty of complex carbs. Complex carbs are our body's main source of energy. The high energy diet fuel you get from complex carbohydrates will significantly outlast than those from other refined-grain foods. furthermore, oatmeal is quite high in fibre, which digests slowly and so you feel full for longer. Prepare it with skim milk for increased protein and sprinkle some walnuts, which have healthy fats. Dried Raisins or cranberries can also increase your intake of nutrients and make your porridge a little sweeter to the taste. No need to add sugar.

Porridge Recipe For a high protein diet

Protein makes our muscles grow which helps us to function in life.  Your muscles burn more calories at rest than what your fat does, so muscle tissue is important to having a healthy, quick metabolism. So, it is important to ensure you’re getting sufficient protein in your daily diet.

Protein is the slowest digested macro nutrient so, adding it to your morning porridge will keep you fuller longer. This ensures that you eat less and helps prevents hunger pangs. Here are healthy breakfast ideas to change basic breakfast recipes for your porridge for those wanting a high protein diet.

  1. Use milk or almond milk. Milk is naturally high in protein so instead of cooking with water, use milk which adds protein and makes your porridge nice and creamy.
  2. Add Seeds and nuts. Seeds and nuts such as Chia Seeds, Flax seeds, Pepitas, or almonds and Walnuts can add a satisfying crunchy taste and make a big increase in protein For those porridge eaters seeking a high protein diet
  3. Add Protein Powder. Protein powder is a ideal fit with porridge for those serious about a high protein diet. Its best added immediately at the end of cooking. Stir in well to make your porridge a creamy smooth texture.
  4. Add egg whites. Egg whites are very high in protein and almost no carbs. Add them immediately at the end of cooking and mix them in well.
  5. Top with Yogurt. Yoghurt is very high in protein. Choose a brand with no added sugar.

Bircher Porridge or Bircher Muesli Style.

Bircher Muesli or Bircher porridge recipe was developed over a century ago by a Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Brenner for his patients. Bircher is still a very popular healthy breakfast throughout the nearby European regions. The original Bircher recipe called for a lot of fresh fruit and soaking the raw oats overnight as they took some time to soften. In the modern era, a soaking for 60 minutes seems to suffice when using modern rolled oats, although many still prefer to prepare it the night before so they are well prepared in the mornings.

So, the Bircher porridge recipe is simply soaking the oats longer and topping with lots of fresh fruit. You can also buy ready made Bircher style muesli/porridge rolled oat mixes that include a balanced mix of dried fruits, so you can just soak and serve.

Aniko Silk is the Executive Chef at Opera Foods Pty Ltd, Australian manufacturers & distributors of fine food products. For more information about sugar content of Plum Foods breakfast cereals, proudly based on organic oats, particularly our Organic Rolled Oats products, contact Opera Foods on 02 4954 4077 or buy direct through the Opera Foods online gourmet grocery store