15 delicious healthy ways to enjoy porridge this winter
Porridge is a great winter warmer and what better way to start a cold, frosty morning than with a warming bowl of porridge? Breakfast is important to fuel your body for the day, particularly if you're going for a morning run or a gym session before work. We're huge fans of icy cold smoothies or granola and fruit in the summer months, but now the weather has turned colder, we're looking for a toasty alternative.
But there are more reasons to enjoy porridge than just a delicious start to the day; oats could provide protection against heart disease and cancer (1), scientists say, and porridge is packed with fibre, which provides your body with sustainable energy. So let us tempt you with these 15 delicious, healthy ways to enjoy porridge this winter – why not try them all and let us know your favourites?
Porridge's health benefits
It's thought that beta-glucan in oats can lower cholesteol whilst a bioactive compound known as avenanthramide could prevent the formation of fat in the arteries. Porridge also contains a large amount of complex carbs, which means the body digests them slowly, and adding honey, milk or fruit will increase the carb content further.
One cup of oats contains around 14mg of iron (that's around 80% of the recommended daily intake for women and over 100% for men). In addition, the phosphorus in porridge can help muscles recover after an intense workout, calcium strengthens your teeth and bones and vitamin A protects your skin and vision.
#1. Chocolate Protein Whipped Oats
If you're looking for a protein packed start to the day, look no further than these chocolate oats. Made with chocolate protein powder, they're creamy and delicious, plus they're dairy-free thanks to the almond milk. You'll need ¼ cup jumbo oats, ½ scoop chocolate protein powder, 1 tsp cocoa powder, 1 egg white, ½ cup almond milk and a cup of water. Then just blend together and serve with frozen blueberries (or raspberries). Hearty and delicious, especially topped with some almond butter.
#2. Vanilla Chai & Pumpkin Oats
Another fab recipe from Celery and Cupcakes, this creamy recipe is great for breakfast during the week but equally good for a relaxing brunch on the weekends. With pumpkin, vanilla extract and vanilla chai tea, it's spicy and delicious – plus pumpkin is packed with vitamin A, which is essential for healthy eyesight.
#3. 5 Minute Oatmeal Power Bowl
Vegan, super-healthy and delicious, this is easy to make the night before and then heat to enjoy in the morning. This delicious blend of oats and chia seeds is packed with protein and fibre. Add your favourite toppings – we love some almond butter and dried cherries for a 'bakewell tart' feel, but you could add your choice of dried or fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, or try flaked toasted coconut. Yum!
#4. Vegan Bananas Foster Baked Oatmeal
For a delicious weekend treat, this is perfect for banana lovers everywhere! Classic Bananas Foster recipes are loaded with sugar, butter and rum – this breakfast take is a bit healthier, and it's vegan. It uses kahlua, which cooks off to leave a delicious, light caramel syrup, and coconut oil plus unrefined sweeteners such as coconut sugar or maple syrup. Bananas are packed with potassium to keep your heart healthy.
#5. Quinoa Fruit Porridge
For an even healthier alternative to oats, why not try quinoa porridge? Quinoa is a complete protein, and it's packed with antioxidants and magnesium; it's also gluten-free. This recipe includes coconut and peaches, but you could substitute any fruit such as blueberries, goji berries or even strawberries – the coconut cream adds a creamy, tropical flavour that's addictive!
#6. Early Morning Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal
Peanut butter and bananas are a classic flavour combination and this recipe from Oh She Glows is one of our favourites. The banana is lightly caramelised and cinnamon, vegan butter and peanut butter add delicious flavour. Adding chia seeds to the mix gives you extra protein and fibre plus a dose of antioxidants, which will leave you feeling satisfied all morning.
#7. Creamy Coconut Porridge
Something this rich and creamy can't be healthy, surely? This recipe uses a blend of coconut oil, coconut milk, banana and almond butter for its flavour. It's super-quick to make and the plant protein, fibre and good fats will leave you feeling fuller for longer and less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks mid-morning. Add the toppings of your choice, such as pumpkin or sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans or walnuts and some fresh or dried fruit.
#8. Spelt Berry Porridge with Granola, Dates and Raspberries
This is a great 'make in advance' breakfast dish that can be reheated to serve, so we like to whip up a batch at the weekends for breakfasts throughout the week! Dates are a great natural sweetener and spelt berries are delicious and easy to digest. Just soak them the night before and mix with the oats and fruit. In the morning, you can reheat with some extra soy or almond milk in the microwave or on the hob.
#9. Double Chocolate Sweet Potato Oatmeal
Those with a seriously sweet tooth will love this – grated sweet potato adds one of your five-a-day to your breakfast, plus it's packed with vitamin A. It might look luxurious, but it uses just ½ a square of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate and a tablespoon of cocoa, so it tastes naughtier than it looks. What a great start to the day!
#10. Apple Pie Oatmeal
It's that time of year when cosy, tempting desserts such as apple crumble and apple pie seem to be everywhere, so why not incorporate the idea into your breakfast? Packed with apples, cinnamon, chia seeds, oats and almond milk, it's easy to make this delicious porridge, and the applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract give it that dessert feel. Save this one for lazy weekends – maybe after a morning run or your yoga class?
#11. Carrot Cake Oatmeal
Is it a dessert? Is is breakfast? It's (sort of) both! Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene (which your body converts into vitamin A) for glowing skin and healthy vision. This recipe counts as one of your five-a-day plus it's creamy, sweet and chewy. Why not make a big dish and share with family and friends? Yum!
#12. Baked Banana, Blueberry and Raisin Oatmeal
Vegan, dairy and gluten-free, this oatmeal is one of our favourite recipes from Deliciously Ella. Walnuts are packed with vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids, great for supporting healthy brain function. Raisins are high in fibre, to promote healthy digestion and they're a great, natural source of energy, whilst vitamin C and antioxidant-rich blueberries and potassium packed bananas seal the deal. Gluten-free oats and almond milk mean this recipe is suitable for everyone, and you can sweeten it to taste with some maple syrup, if you like.
#13. Vegan Buckwheat Porridge
Great for those mornings when time is at a premium, you can serve this porridge with whatever toppings you like – we recommend nut butter, some dried fruit and pumpkin seeds. The recipe uses raw buckwheat groats instead of oats – they're gluten-free, making this a great recipe for those sensitive to gluten. You can use any non-dairy milk or sub cow's milk.
#14. Strawberries and Cream Porridge
#15. Creamy Chai Porridge
Using Chai spices to flavour your porridge is an inspired idea. Try cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom (just a pinch of each) and make your porridge as usual using dairy or almond milk. Top with some honey and sliced almonds - so warming, and good for your metabolism!
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