Porridge oats: A staple breakfast for Millennia.
Let's bring this golden oldie into the 21st century and level-up your life.
This Ultimate Oats Guide will help you
- Find 5 ways to boost the protein in your porridge
- Learn whether oats are good or bad for weight loss
- Hack your post workout protein shake
- Know the carb, fat, protein and nutritional info of oats
- Know the difference between oats vs oatmeal
- Try out new, exciting breakfast oats recipes
- See a comprehensive list of commonly asked questions
Let's get stuck in...
First up, are porridge oats healthy?
It's a good question. The word healthy gets used a lot, so let's clear up exactly what healthy means.
WHAT IS HEALTHY?
"A whole food which has not been processed and has no added chemicals."
Think real, unaltered food like apples, any fresh fruit, any fresh veg, raw nuts, raw meat. That's pretty much it. They don't need ingredient lists because it's just 1 ingredient, real food.
You can get oats which are just 100% oats and you can get porridge pots which are oats mixed with all kinds of rubbish. The two are not equal. My advice: always use 100% oats, organic where you can.
What about the carb content?
With lots of people going Paleo, some people don't like the idea of eating carbs from porridge. I'd be more worried about the chemicals, high sugar snacks and alcohol most people consume than the carbs in porridge.
Carbs are not the enemy. Our bodies need them to work properly. Healthy, whole foods which contain carbs are good to eat in moderation.
Are oats good for weight loss?
Short answer: Yes, if used correctly, not overeaten and the rest of your food and lifestyle aids your weight loss goals.
This is a tricky question to answer because it depends on what you eat now and how much you eat. If your breakfast is usually sugar filled cereal, switching to porridge is a good idea.
If you have a high protein breakfast and are trying to lose weight, porridge might not help because it will add more carbs and (probably) calories to your day. I'm not saying carbs are bad, but lowering them if you consume a lot can help with weight loss.
My advice: If you're unsure speak to a professional, not one of your friends who thinks they know but aren't getting good results.
Oats Nutritional Info.
Oats are a great source of slow release carbs, ideal for days when you exercise.
Packed full of protein, potassium, iron and magnesium, they offer a sustainable and filling way to start your day.
Looking for a quick n easy way to boost your protein? I've got you covered...
5 Ways to Boost Oat Protein
Love oats but want more protein? Below you will find 5 ways to increase the protein content of the nations favourite breakfast.
#1 - Add Protein Powder
If you're after simplicity, this is how to do it. Protein powder will add around 20g of protein to your porridge dish. Simply stir it in. Find a flavoured one if you prefer, but I'd recommend sticking to natural ingredients such as fruit wherever possible.
I can highly recommend the Enrichd No Cow Cacao vegan protein powder. It's clean, has no artificial ingredients and tastes amazing. I use it every day. Here's review of this vegan protein powder. (Use code PORRIDGE10 for 10% discount and PORRIDGEFREE for free shipping on orders over £70).
#2 - Use Peanut Butter
If you've never tried peanut butter in your porridge you're missing out! It tastes so good. It's pretty cheap and it packs a decent amount of protein, too.
Just be careful not to use too much as it's high in calories.
#3 - Use Milk
Milk has around 4g of protein per 100ml, which is more than water (obviously) and almond milk. There are more calories in it, so make sure it fits in with your daily goals before making the switch.
Using milk with oats for breakfast makes them taste much better, especially when you use a saucepan to cook the oatmeal instead of in the microwave.
#4 - Add nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great way to boost protein, make your porridge more interesting and get lots of other necessary nutrients in one hit. Be careful not to have too many as they are high in calories, just a small palm sized portion is about right.
Try adding pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds, almonds or walnuts.
#5 - Cottage Cheese
You can boost protein easily by stirring in some cottage cheese after you've cooked the porridge. It will add texture, taste great and packs a nutritional punch.
Hack your post workout Shake
Upgrade your Post workout protein shake
Most people are only interested in the level of protein in a post workout shake. But here's the thing...You need carbs to build muscle, too.
After your workout your muscles are screaming for carbs. They need it to rebuild the muscles you've just worked hard. Without it they won't recover as effectively.
Here's how to hack it...
If your current protein powder is low on carbs, add 1 tablespoon of oats to your mix. This will give you a slow release hit of carbs that your body needs.
Oats vs Oatmeal...
What's the difference between oats and oatmeal?
Good question. Let's talk oats...
Try a quick Google search and there are lots of different answers to the oats vs oatmeal question. The common theme is that oatmeal can refer to many different types of oats.
The oat groat what you're eating, just processed in a different way.
Which leads to the next point about the different types of oats you can get and which oats are the best...
Not all oats are created equal...
You've got steel cut oats, rolled oats, instant oats. Let's look at each of them in some detail:
Steel Cut Oats - This is where the oat groat has been cut rather than rolled or processed. The result is an oat which takes longer to cook and has a harder, chewier texture to it.
Rolled Oats - In this oat variety the groat has been rolled to make it flatter, wider and longer. Before rolling, they are steamed to make them easier to roll. It cooks quicker because it has a larger surface area and absorbs water faster.
Instant Oats - These have been pre-cooked, rolled and pressed slightly so they are smaller than rolled oats and more processed. They're also know as quick oats.
There are some more details about porridge in this post.
Which oats are the best?
I'd pick the rolled oats or steel cut. Instant oats have been cooked and we don't know what they've been cooked in or how they've been cooked so it could impact the nutritional quality of them.
If you're wondering what other healthy breakfast alternatives there are to porridge, check out my other post.
Oat Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Are oats different than oatmeal?
A: Oatmeal is made out of oats which have been processed in some way, such as rolled or steel cut. Oats can come in a variety of different types, such as steel cut, rolled, instant. Oatmeal and oats are often used interchangeably.
Q: Are oats oatmeal?
A: See similar question above :)
Q: Is rolled oats the same as porridge oats?
A: It depends on the porridge. Some porridge oats are just rolled, whereas others are instant oats meaning they have been steamed, rolled and pressed.
Q: Is eating porridge oats good for you?
A: This depends on how you mean by good and what your goals are. Oats contain plenty of Iron, Magnesium, Carbs, Fat and Protein so are a great source of good nutrition that your body needs. But you can have too much of a good thing so don't overdo it. Also, those looking to lose weight might want to reduce the amount of carbs they are eating.
Q: Which types of oats is best for weight loss?
A: Go for the least processed, lowest calorie oats. Those are usually rolled or steel cut oats. Instant oats or oats in pots usually contain lots more calories and chemicals. Check the ingredients to make sure it says "ingredients: 100% oats". In addition, larger oats seem to remain in the stomach for longer meaning they keep you feeling fuller. Use plenty of water with them instead of milk.
Q: How much oatmeal should I eat a day to lose weight?
A: This will depend on how active you are, how big you are, how much you weigh and what else you eat in the day. Use an app like My Fitness Pal to track everything you eat and drink each day. The app is free and gives you all the details about how to lose weight.
Q: Can you eat raw oats?
A: Yes, you can eat them raw. The rolled oats that you commonly see in the shops are actually not raw but have been steamed and rolled so they're softer. Steel cut oats are the least processed of the oats. They're hard and chewy, take longer to cook and difficult to eat raw.
Q: Are oats wheat?
A: No, oats are not wheat. They are not made from wheat grains. This is why they do not contain gluten naturally, either.
Q: Do oats contain gluten?
A: Oats do not contain gluten. Most celiacs can eat oats, with only around 1% not able to tolerate them. However, oats can become contaminated with gluten when grown in the same fields as wheat, barley or rye grains.