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30th Dec 2018

3 winter warmer porridge recipes to kick start a healthy new year

Amy Nolan

Here’s how to get into a bit of a health kick for 2019 – without going to extremes.

With the new year almost upon us, it can often feel like we’re bombarded with messages about “diet this” and “weight loss” that, but quick fixes can never compare to sustainable change.

Deliciously Ella often gets asked about advice on how to eat better and she always stresses that it’s better to add in healthy things to your diet, rather than start cutting things out. A wise woman!

Eating a healthy breakfast can be a great start to the day and you can’t go wrong with a warming bowl of porridge on a frosty January morning. Its deliciousness aside, porridge is quite the nutritional powerhouse, with its high fibre content helping to lower cholesterol whilst also keeping us fuller for longer. It also has a high iron content, which along with a number of other things helps convert blood sugar to energy.

Here are three delicious recipes to try out this January:

1) Coconut, pistachio and orange porridge

Serves one:  To make the basic porridge mixture, add half a cup of oats to a saucepan on a medium heat, along with one cup of coconut milk. Heat until the liquid has been soaked up by the oats; this should only take about five minutes. For the toppings, roughly chop some pistachio nuts and grate over some orange zest.  Flick on the kettle and enjoy with a cup of tea!

Why it works: Pistachios have a very subtle sweet flavour and so work really well with the smooth creaminess of the coconut milk. The zingyness of the orange zest adds a little contrast and vibrancy to your breakfast bowl.

Benefits:  Pistachios are rich in a number of different vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, E and K and potassium. They also contain fewer calories than other nuts. Using coconut milk in this recipe not only enhances the flavour, but many plant-based milk has added vitamins such as B12. The orange zest gives a boost of Vitamin C – just make sure you use organic oranges that are pesticide free if you are eating the zest. You can always squeeze the orange after and enjoy your breakfast with a fresh glass of juice too.

2) Chocolate and banana porridge 

Serves one:  To make the basic porridge mixture, add half a cup of oats to a saucepan on a medium heat, along with one cup of your milk of choice (almond milk works nicely for this combination). Add one teaspoon of either cocoa powder or raw cacao powder. Heat until the liquid has been soaked up by the oats; this should only take about five minutes. Slice half a banana for the top and…devour!

Why it works:  This recipe is perfect, if like us, you have a bit of a sweet tooth. If you use raw cacao powder, its subtle bitterness (like dark chocolate) works really well with the sweet banana. You can also add a little maple syrup.

Benefits: Even though it’s totally fine to use normal cocoa powder here (zero preachy-ness round these parts!), substituting raw cacao will give your breakfast an added health factor. The difference is raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans which helps to lock in nutritional value. Raw cacao powder helps to lower blood pressure and is rich in magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese.

3) Cooked apple and cinnamon porridge 

The night before: Peel two cooking apples (any apples will do really, but these give a lovely tart flavour) and finely chop. Add the pieces to a saucepan along with one heaped teaspoon of cinnamon, half a teaspoon of nutmeg and a little boiling water (approximately a quarter cup). Give everything a quick stir and place the lid on the saucepan; cook on a medium heat. The apples should absorb the liquid and begin to soften. When all of the liquid has been absorbed, mash the apples and leave to cool before storing in an airtight container in the fridge (you may also wish to sweeten to taste). This recipe makes about two little jars and will keep for about two days when stored correctly.

In the morning: Add half a cup of oats, one cup of liquid and two heaped teaspoons of the cooked apples to a saucepan. Heat through and add a drizzle of honey or any other sweetener, if desired.

Why it works:  Although this one takes a smigin more preparation, it is really worth it! It bulks up your breakfast and the flavour combination is amazing. Apple + Cinnamon = Christmas in a bowl….Need we say more?!

Benefits: Apples, like any fruit, are a great source of vitamin C, and also contain a high content of flavonoids (antioxidants which help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and other nasties). Cinnamon – (the little underdog you suspected nothing of), helps with heart health, brain function and helps regulate blood sugar.

Go forth and conquer 2019 with these healthy recipes under your belt!