9 January 2013

Ways to enjoy oatmeal / porridge


Oats are really good for you in so many ways. They are an excellent source of fibre, can lower bad cholesterol, stabalise blood sugar, help reduce blood pressure, have a higher concentration of well-balanced protein than other cereals, help prevent heart disease and heart failure, enhance immune response to disease, helps milk production for breastfeeding moms, and can even help reduce the risk of cancer. Indeed a super-food.

Sure, they can be boring and tasteless. And making them less so can hike up the sugar or fat content of a bowl of porridge pretty quickly if you're not careful.

But there are plenty of ways to make a bowl of oats porridge more exciting and today I thought I'd share a few.

Firstly, I wanted to show how I make porridge in 2 minutes without adding any calories (except for the milk). Even my children can make their own porridge (and I doubt you'd find any kids lazier about preparing their own food!)

Quick tip that I learned from a pin on Pinterest: Hang your measuring cup on the side of the oats container with a little hook. I know, right?! Blew my mind too!


Step 1: Put 35g (a third of a cup / about 65ml) rolled oats into a bowl.


Step 2: Add double the amout of water - so two thirds of a cup / about 130ml.


Step 3: Microwave for 2 minutes.


Step 4: Add some skimmed milk.


Simple, right? And quick too - I can unload the dishwasher while the porridge cooks in the microwave. Which is how I learned that unpacking the dishwasher only takes two minutes, which makes me less lazy to do it. But that's another post for another day.

So now you have a (still bland and boring) bowl of oatmeal with milk to serve as your base. For those on Weight Watchers you're at 4 ProPoints / Points+ now - 1 for the milk, 3 for the oats.

Time to add some fun. Why not top it with some fruit (in this case, banana)?


And then drizzle over a little syrup and sprinkle on a dash of cinnamon.


Totally delicious! And for those of you on Weight Watchers, this bowl of porridge is only 5 ProPoints / Points+ (1 for the milk, 3 for the oats, 1 for the syrup). And it tastes like dessert. Can't beat that.

Basically you first want to add a sweetener of some kind - here are some ideas (I never use artificial sweeteners so they won't feature on this list):
  • brown sugar (2 teaspoons = 1 ProPoint / Points+)
  • white sugar (2 teaspoons = 1 ProPoint / Points+)
  • syrup (2 teaspoons = 1 ProPoint / Points+)
  • honey (1 heaped teaspoon / 15g = 1 ProPoint / Points+)
  • chocolate syrup (2 teaspoons = 1 ProPoint / Points+)
  • caramel syrup (2 teaspoons = 1 ProPoint / Points+)
  • maple syrup (2 teaspoons = 1 ProPoint / Points+)
  • buttercream frosting (1 tablespoon = 2 ProPoints / Points+)
  • jam (2 teaspoons = 1 ProPoint / Points+)
  • caramel syrup (2 teaspoons = 1 ProPoint / Points+)
  • Nutella (1 heaped teaspoon / 15g = 2 ProPoints / Points+)
  • chocolate chips (10g = 1 ProPoint / Points+)
Then you might consider adding some fruit or nuts to bulk out your porridge and add some more flavour and interest (not to mention the health benefits) - 0 extra points unless indicated:
  • sliced banana
  • peaches - fresh or canned in juice (drained)
  • strawberries - fresh or canned in juice (drained) or frozen (thawed)
  • raspberries - fresh or canned in juice (drained) or frozen (thawed)
  • raisins (15g = 1 ProPoint / Points+)
  • stewed apples (click here for my recipe that adds no extra points)
  • desiccated coconut (10g = 2 ProPoints / Points+)
  • stewed rhubarb (with no added sugar)
  • dried currants (1 tablespoon / 12g = 1 ProPoint / Points+)
  • flaked almonds (6g = 1 ProPoint / Points+)
  • chopped hazlenuts (8g = 1 ProPoint / Points+) 
  • chopped pecan nuts (5 nuts = 2 ProPoint / Points+)
Then you want to kick it up with some flavouring - 0 extra points unless indicated.
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • pumpkin pie spice mix
  • gingerbread spice mix
  • cocoa - add to oats and mix well before adding water and cooking  (1 tablespoon = 1 ProPoint / Points+)
  • ginger
  • vanilla extract (add immediately to hot porridge once it comes out of microwave)
  • other extracts or flavourings (add immediately to hot porridge once it comes out of microwave)
  • peanut butter (1 tablespoon = 4 ProPoints / Points+)
Now you can take the above list and come up with your own combinations. Here are a few ideas:

Ginger and peach
Peaches (canned in juice, drained), brown sugar, a little dried ginger and cinnamon. 


Banana and toffee
Banana, toffee syrup, a dash of cinnamon.


Apple pie
Cinnamon steamed apples with a little syrup.


Oats cooked with a tablespoon of cocoa, white sugar.


A few more combinations to try:
Chocolate covered strawberries (Nutella + strawberries) = 6 ProPoints / Points+
Gingerbread (raisins (soaked in boiling water to soften) + gingerbread spices) = 5 ProPoints / Points+
Hot cross buns (currants + hot cross bun spices + brown sugar) = 6 ProPoints / Points+
White chocolate raspberries (raspberries + white chocolate chips) = 5 ProPoints / Points+
Carrot cake (sugar + steamed grated carrots + carrot cake spices) = 5 ProPoints / Points+
Tropical (coconut + canned pineapple, drained) = 6 ProPoints / Points+
Chocolate chip cookies (vanilla extract + chocolate chips + brown sugar) = 6 ProPoints / Points+
Bounty bar (dried coconut + chocolate chips + sugar) = 8 ProPoints / Points+

I'd love to know what your favourite combination is, or if you try any of the above.
Now go forth and enjoy some porridge!

Oh, one last tip before you go: if your porridge is too hot and you're in a hurry and can't wait for it to cool, stir an ice cube through it.

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  1. Hi Jen, thanks for your Weight Watchers posts - I have done the program in the past and still try to stick to it although I am finding it really hard to get the hang of the ProPoints (I need to dig out my calculator and reference books!).

    My mom got me on to this website and it has some great ideas - this one for oats is delicious! I haven't worked out how many ProPoints that would be...

    Also take a look at http://www.thehealthychef.com/ - I've only tried a few recipes but they are very tasty.

    Keep up the good work!


    1. Thanks so much for the links, can't wait to check them out!

  2. Hi Jen,

    After I finish posting my comment, I am going to get off my computer and make some oats....while I unpack my dishwasher! So much multi-tasking and all before breakfast. Will let you know how my oats turn out.

    Ta muchly for your great ideas.

    Lisa x

  3. I'm back....dishwasher unpacked (Tick). Porridge cooked (Tick) Enjoying breakfast (Tick). Must clean microwave after finished eating breakky as oatmeal bubbled over. Next time I will adjust my setting from 2 mins back to about 1min 40sec. Will have work faster on dishwasher though! LOL
    I tried banana, cinnamon and honey...Yummo! I have found my new breakfast super food!


    1. Oh no, sorry about the microwave cleaning! Maybe try a bigger bowl? Or yeah, if it's done in 1m40s then awesome. Good luck with your speed unpacking of the dishwasher!

  4. My favorite oatmeal is vanilla, peanut butter, banana, and honey. yum, every morning!

    1. Mmm, that sounds delicious! I love peanut butter but hardly ever eat it because of how high in points it is.

  5. What I used to do for Damian was buy a block of cooking chocolate, and chop up a block or two into the oats before I microwaved it... I know, not weight-healthy, but really wallet-healthy, since the flavoured oats here in SA is so expensive. The nice thing is, you can get the caramel cooking chocolate too, so flavours vary. You could get dark chocolate, though, which is healthy for you. Chopping up the blocks of chocolate is a pain, though, and I've since found that the different-flavoured sauces that go on top of ice cream work even better, and there is more of a variety. You could even use maple syrup (mmmm).

  6. were did you get this storage container???

    1. The container was from The Warehouse, and I added the little hook which is a 3M Command hook.


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