I was never a fan of porridge. Partly due to the texture, partly to the fact I don’t really like milk either.
This porridge recipe has converted me though. I love it!
It’s our ‘set you up for the day’ breakfast and the great thing about this recipe is you can make it your own by adding any combination of fruit and nuts.
This is a warm breakfast that will fill you up and start you out on the right foot. It doesn’t take long to make, as you can prep it the night before. However, if you don’t have time, you might like to try making these overnight Bircher pots that you can take to work with you.
I’ve included all the fruit you might need to add to your porridge in the ingredients section below. You don’t need to use all of them at once. Some ideas of fruit combinations have been included in the instructions section.
Banana and almond porridge
creamy, filling and delicious, this porridge will set you up for the day
Make the night before:
Measure the oats, milk and vanilla into a bowl, stir and leave in the fridge
In the morning:
Put the porridge in a large pan with the almond butter, coconut oil and mashed banana and heat on a low to medium heat.
Add more milk to the porridge to stop it from sticking to the pan and keep adding to make it the desired consistency (I don't like mine too thick!)
For the fruit toppings, try the following combinations:
1. Stewed apple and pear with cinnamon, 2. Strawberries, blueberries and bananas, fresh or stewed, 3. Apple and strawberry puree (you can make these the night before and re-heat, or make in the morning and serve hot over the warm porridge)
Plain natural yoghurt also goes well with the porridge and fruit
The variations are limited to your imagination, using the same base porridge.
Adding the almond butter, gives the porridge a protein boost, which along with the oats, will help keep you fuller for longer.
Soaking the oats overnight makes them easier to digest. It also means they take less time to cook and you end up with a smoother, creamier porridge, not the gritty, lumpy stuff that, if you're like me, put you off eating it.
What happened to the traditional 3 meals a day our parents grew up with?
“A finger of fudge is just enough to give your kids a treat. A finger of fudge is just enough until it’s time to eat…”
These are the first two lines from an advert that ran for a decade in the UK from 1979. I can still hear the tune in my head; such was the power of the advert.
“It’s full of Cadbury goodness, but very small and neat.”
The message was clear: ‘give your child a chocolate bar, just a small one though, you don’t want to fill them up too much and don’t worry, it’s good for them.’
Not like that in our day
What our parents were being introduced to was the idea of giving snacks in between meals and it marked the beginning of the massive industry that is the snack food market. The world our parents grew up in was very different. Snacking was frowned upon. You ate three meals a day and that was it. Eating anywhere except in the home and most probably at the kitchen table was not the done thing. At all.
Snacking is now the norm with kids averaging at 3-4 snacks per day. In the unlikely event that you snacked in the 1970s, you might have had a hot drink or an apple. Today, the choice of snacks is endless and has led to the decline of the three meal a day structure, with many opting to skip meals altogether in favour of food on the go. Is it any wonder we are getting fatter?
I gave up sugar for Lent this year and if there’s one thing I learned it’s that snacking is much less appealing when you don’t have anything sweet to eat. I won’t argue that there are plenty of savoury snacks to choose from, but you would be surprised how many of them contain sugar.
Do we need snacks?
If we eat three solid meals a day, we can quite easily survive without snacking. We don’t choose to do that though and as a consequence we get hungry and when we get hungry we grab the first thing we see. It fills us up for a short time only. Our blood sugar levels yo-yo up and down all day and we end up craving the sweet things. Haven’t you ever thought to yourself ‘I could just eat a little sweet something,’ even though you’ve just eaten?
It’s a habit more than a need and I found out when I gave up sugar and lost that craving, that snacking just didn’t have the same appeal. Without any tempting sweet treats to choose from, I simply wasn’t bothered.
It made me realise that before those marketers corrupted our parents into thinking their little darlings should have a chocolate bar between meals every day, we were so much healthier. I bet our grandparents didn’t come out of school every day whinging ‘have you got me a snack.’ It wouldn’t have even occurred to them.
The surprising thing about my sugar fast (though it’s no surprise really) was the weight loss. After six weeks I was 2kg lighter (that’s almost 4.5 pounds). Even though I didn’t do it for that reason, it was a pleasant bonus.
What did I learn?
I learned that you can survive the day on three substantial meals, as long as you make them count. Eating on the hoof, snacking and not eating properly in general means that we end up hungry and when we’re hungry, we snack.
It’s not easy when the snack market is booming and we’re surrounded by ever increasing numbers of products that claim to be healthy. Are they though? You find sugar in most of them in some form or other and that certainly isn’t healthy; a quick energy fix maybe, but that’s all.