Shaping Up: Five ways to upgrade your porridge oats

Why not give these muffins a try?
Why not give these muffins a try?

When my alarm clock goes off at 5am, my first thought is … food!

But, at that time of the morning I can’t be bothered to faff around, so my breakfast must be quick and easy to make.

Sometimes I don’t get the chance to eat again until dinner time, so it’s got to be filling too.

That’s why oats are my breakfast of choice. They tick both of those boxes, and more!

*They keep me satisfied throughout the morning.

*They are quick and easy to make.

*They are full of calcium to help maintain healthy bones.

*They contain vitamin A which helps boost your immune system.

*They give you carbohydrates for energy.

*Are low in saturated fat, contain no sugar, cholesterol or salt.

The only downside to kick-starting every morning with a bowl of porridge is that, if you don’t mix it up with different flavourings/toppings, it can get very tedious very quickly.

So here are five ways to enjoy oats and have you craving more:

1. PORRIDGE

Perfect for the colder mornings. Add almonds and cinnamon to keep your heart healthy. Try this recipe.

Ingredients:

50g wholegrain rolled oats

50g ground almonds

1 tsp cinnamon

250ml almond milk

Optional toppings:

Drizzle of maple syrup

Sprinkle of pumpkin seeds

Sprinkle of sunflower seeds

Large hand full of fresh strawberries (or whatever fruit is in season)

Dollop of Greek yogurt

Instructions:

Measure out the oats and almonds and tip both into a saucepan.

Add the cinnamon and milk, stir and cook over a medium/low heat, stirring regularly for about 10 minutes until nice and thick.

Pour cooked porridge into a bowl then add any or all of the optional toppings.

2. OVERNIGHT OATS

My favourite, overnight oats take a few minutes to knock up and are ready to eat immediately the next morning. If your goal is to lose weight and burn fat then add yogurt, blueberries and flaxseed.

Ingredients:

½ cup wholegrain rolled oats

⅔ cup water

½ cup greek yogurt

1 tablespoon flaxseed

Blueberries and pecans for toppings.

Instructions:

In an individual food storage container, add the ingredients in the order listed (except for toppings). Stir and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, stir up the mixture again; and add the toppings.

3. SMOOTHIES

Smoothies are great for a pre-workout meal. They are easy to digest and don’t feel too heavy on your stomach. Try this Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Cookie Smoothie for an energy boosting pre-workout shake.

Ingredients:

1 cup Silk unsweetened organic soymilk

1 large banana, sliced and frozen

3 tbsp wholegrain rolled oats

2 tbsp raisins

¾ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp vanilla extract

1 scoop protein powder.

Instructions:

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy.

4. BREAKFAST BARS

These Oatmeal Superfood Breakfast Bars are loaded with healthy ingredients like oats, pumpkin seeds and blueberries.

Ingredients:

Base:

2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup slivered almonds

4 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 bananas

1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 scoop Vanilla Whey Protein.

Topping:

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup fresh organic blueberries

1/4 cup of almond milk

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.

Instructions:

Base:

Preheat oven to 350°.Line 9 x 9 baking pan with parchment paper, lightly grease with coconut oil.

Add all ingredients in to food processor until completely combined and wet, this may take several minutes.

Pour into prepared pan and smooth out with off set spatula until evenly spread.Bake for eight to 10 minutes.

Topping:

Combine ingredients in medium bowl and stir to combine.

Removing pan from oven, spread topping evenly over and lightly press down into base.

Bake an additional 15 minutes.

5. BREAKFAST MUFFINS

If you like muffins on a morning, you have to try these Raspberry Blender Muffins. They are so easy to make.

Ingredients:

1 cup / 100g rolled oats

2 large ripe bananas

2 large eggs

1 cup greek yogurt

3 tbsp honey

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

1 cup / 125g fresh or frozen raspberry.

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 390f / 180c. Line a muffin tray with muffin cases and spray them with a little spray oil.

Put all the ingredients except the raspberries into a blender or food processor and blitz until all combined. Stir in half the raspberries.

Pour the mixture into the muffin cases, filling 3/4 full. Top with the remaining raspberries.

Bake in the oven for between 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from the muffin tins and allow to cool on a wire rack.

YOUR TRAINER

Your Trainer: Graham Low, owner of East Coast Fitness, is an award winning personal trainer based in Seaham.

The ex-professional footballer was nominated for the Small Business of the Year and Leisure Awards at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards last year.

Graham won the Leisure Award at the North East Hotels Association Awards while working as gym manager at Seaham Hall in 2012.

For personal training, boot camps, small group training and online programmes email graham@eastcoast-fitness.com or click here.