Porridge is a great way to start your day at any time of year. It’s by far the best breakfast you can have to warm you up on a freezing January morning.
Porridge is ideal for vegans, vegetarians, or anyone who wants to lose weight in the new year.
I like to eat my porridge made from organic farm-fresh oats with water, microwaved with a pinch of salt for 3 minutes. Not to everyone’s taste, I know, but there are so many ways to prepare and eat your porridge that you’ll never get bored with it.
Porridge is traditionally made with rolled oats and this is the best ingredient to use. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you not to use pre-packaged or sweetened instant oatmeal.
Most Farm Shops stock natural organic porridge oats. A 40g (dry weight) serving costs as little as £0.09, That’s 9 pence for Breakfast, really!
Porridge Oats are considered one of natures superfoods
Oats are a natural superfood because they are 100% whole grain with minimal processing, and contain vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Superfoods are nutrient-rich foods known to be very good for your health. Some other examples of superfoods are blueberries, salmon, and broccoli.
British farmers are growing more oats than ever before as we try and eat a better diet.
Here’s the top 5 health benefits of Porridge
Porridge will help to manage your cholesterol levels
Oats contain a soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which has been shown to lower your cholesterol level if you have 3g or more a day. You can get from a large serving of porridge (60g of dry oats).
Porridge may help balance your blood sugar levels
Studies have suggested that the Beta glucan in oats can help to lower levels of blood glucose after eating. It also improves our sensitivity to insulin.
Porridge supports gut health
Oats are rich in prebiotic fibres which stimulate the growth and activity of our beneficial gut bacteria, maintaining proper gut function and minimising inflammation. At the same time they inhibit the growth of less desirable or pathogenic varieties.
Porridge provides protective antioxidants
Whole porridge oats are a good source of protective compounds called polyphenols. Polyphenols have protective antioxidant properties and can help lower blood pressure by encouraging the production of nitric oxide which relaxes blood vessels and improves blood flow.
Porridge may help with weight management
Porridge oats are a source of complex carbohydrates; this means they provide slow-releasing energy that lasts until lunchtime. Porridge makes you feel full and it also seems to trigger the release of fullness hormones which further suppresses your appetite.
Are oats safe for everyone?
Porridge Oats are perfectly safe for most people, if you’re not used to a high fibre diet you might want to ease yourself in to avoid the inconvenience of flatulence, bloating, and discomfort.
Although oats don’t contain gluten they can become contaminated during processing so if you’re coeliac or gluten intolerant check labels to ensure they are ‘gluten free’. Natural porridge oats should only contain one thing: Oats!
Oats contain a protein called avenin, which is similar to gluten be seems to be well tolerated by most, although not all people.
Making Porridge – It couldn’t be easier
40g/60g Porridge oats per person
280/420 ml milk or water per person, (or a mixture of the two)
Salt to taste
You can cook your porridge on the stove or in the microwave, you won’t be able to tell the difference.
On the Stove – Easier for a group
Put the porridge oats in a saucepan, pour in the milk or water and sprinkle in a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring from time to time making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
In the Microwave – Best if you’re eating alone
Put the porridge oats, milk, or water and a pinch of salt into a large microwave proof bowl, then microwave on High for 5 minutes, stirring halfway through. Leave to stand for 2 minutes.
Now you can go to town with any toppings you want to add, and serve.
yogurt and oats go really well together and give an even bigger health boost. Make your porridge in the usual way and then either stir in or top with the yogurt. Greek yogurt porridge is particularity good.
When I first heard about savoury porridge I couldn’t get my head around it, until I realized that my preferred porridge made with water and salt is as savoury as you can get, so why not.
Having checked out the internet, here are a few savoury porridge ideas I’ll be trying out in the new year:
Egg Savoury Porridge Topping (per person)
1 Fried or poached egg
1 Tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon chopped chives or other fresh herbs
Stir the parmesan cheese into the cooked porridge and adjust the consistency with water, stock, or milk as needed. Top with the egg and sprinkle with chopped chives.
Chilli Savoury Porridge Topping (per person)
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon chili oil or hot sauce of your choice
Sprinkle the nutritional yeast over your bowl of porridge and drizzle with chilli oil or hot sauce.
Asian Savoury Porridge Topping (per person)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced, crushed, or grated
1 handful cooking greens
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Heat the vegetable oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the greens and the garlic and sauté until the greens are wilted slightly.
Add the sesame oil and soy sauce to the pan and stir in.
Add the mixture to your porridge, stir it in if you like, and top with toasted sesame seeds.
Carrot Porridge – Savoury or Sweet?
Grate ½ a large carrot into a saucepan and warm slightly for around 30 seconds. Add your porridge ingredients and continue to make it in the traditional way.
I hope I’ve convinced you to give porridge a try, and of course please support your local farm shop by buying organic, British porridge oats.