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Breakfast is the one meal of the day I always make time for. It was drummed into me from an early age that breakfast is the most important meal and my siblings and I were seldom allowed sugary, "fun" cereals with toys in the box. We were usually offered Weetabix or Ready Brek. Now I eat porridge pretty much every day and I've noticed some positive health benefits.
Oats are a good source of dietary fibre and are a low GI index food, which means that they release energy slowly throughout the day, keeping you feeling full for longer. They also help to lower cholesterol by increasing bile production in the gall bladder. The body uses excess cholesterol in the blood to produce this extra bile, therefore having a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. Oats can reduce inflammation and help with weight loss too. So, an all round superfood really.
I have tried other brands of oats, including supermarket own and organic varieties, but I always come back to Quaker because they are the best for flavour and texture.
Making porridge is easy peasy. Simply put half a cup of oats into a bowl, add a cup of milk and bung it in the microwave for two and a half minutes. When you hear the ping, take it out, stir and leave to stand for a minute or two to cool down. Don't try to eat it right away or you will suffer third degree burns to your mouth! I always use skimmed milk (my kids call it white water) but it works with any kind of milk, or if you are really calorie conscious, you can just use water. Now for the toppings. Plain porridge is frankly very bland, it needs embellishing. My favourite topping is a teaspoon of golden syrup but I also like fresh blueberries, a sliced banana or a few nuts. A dollop of jam is yummy, tinned fruit, dried fruit or even chocolate sauce are all amazing. Maple syrup and pecan nuts are a real treat on special occasions, or you might fancy honey and natural yoghurt. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination!
Of course, porridge isn't the only thing you can use oats for. They make wonderful flapjacks, give an extra crunch to crumbles and will even make a tasty coating for chicken. And, because they are anti-inflammatory, they make a soothing face mask when mixed with honey. At just £1.89 for a huge 1kg box and widely available in all good supermarkets, every home should have a box!
My favourite meal of the day until recently has always been breakfast. Lately though due to not feeling very well and it taking my appetite away a bit I have been skipping breakfast. I've lost 8lbs in weight very quickly due to ill health which I have to watch as I suffer with an eating disorder, also I have problems with having potassium and iron deficiency's and m.e so I need a good source of energy and if I don't have breakfast then I pick all day long at food making me feel worse!
The other day I went into my kitchen cupboard for something to eat and I stumbled across a box of Asda's own oats that I mixed up with milk, popped in the microwave and added a little golden syrup to. It was a lovely, warming evening snack that really filled me up and gave me some central heating in bed whilst watching a movie and I knew next time I was out that I'd be getting some more asap! I bought these Quaker oats in my local Poundland store for of course a pound though if you can't get a 750g box for what I paid for them then they are available in all good supermarkets (in different sizes) and this box is around the £1.49 mark which is still excellent value in my opinion!
The oats come in a box and on the front of that box there is a field scene on there with a man walking through it and we are told that they are Quaker Oats '100% Wholegrain Rolled Oats' the size is stated as is an at a glance nutritional chat and we are told that 'Oats are one of the natural ways to help lower cholesterol, as part as a varied and balanced diet low in saturated fat and a healthy lifestyle'. Other information listed on the box includes being told a bit about the product, ingredients, allergy advice, cooking instructions and a full nutritional chart are given as well as contact details for the manufacturer. Inside the box the oats are loose and not bagged and there is a section to the side of the box that you can open to pour them out of. Its nice enough and informative packaging this and of course the box is recyclable too!
Cream with brown bits of colour dotted on them, they are small thin flakes and to make them up into a porridge you can either mix up 40g of the oats with 300ml of either water or milk and boil it and then allow it to simmer on the hob for about 5 minutes though you can also microwave it (amounts on how much water/milk you use vary depending on portion size doing it this way) for between 4-6 minutes. I have cooked this up either way personally though I prefer to do it in the microwave because I get less washing up!
I have also had it made with water, milk and half and half and personally I prefer this stuff made up with milk because I get a creamier texture, again though you can use skimmed, semi or full fat milk. Its great to know that you can still have a decent breakfast even though you've gone to your fridge and there is no milk available though!
Its easy to blend up, you end up with a rather smooth paste, which is porridge so its drippy and this is simply great. It tastes of oats and thats it cos theres nothing else added of course. It is naturally a little salty but you can add sugar, honey (or as I do as a treat!) a little golden syrup. Its tasty, its tangy, there are not any hard bits in it at all and it is wonderfully filling and body warming. If I eat a portion of this in the morning I find I don't need to eat for hours and that it keeps my energy levels up till lunchtime with ease! I don't know if it lowers cholesterol but I have no issues with mine to be fair anyway.
I love this high quality porridge, its tastes wonderful and to me is an essential part of my eating for winter!
Nutritional Information Per 40g Serving (No Milk):
Available in all good supermarkets etc.
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so not being able to face any food until dinner time probably hasn't done me any favours over the years. With a diet sheet to follow while suffering from a stomach ulcer, a radical change of eating habits has had to be made on many levels, one of which was finding something that would slip down easily first thing in the morning.
With porridge standing out as the most obvious choice, I decided to turn to an old childhood favourite and for several weeks really enjoyed the smooth, creamy texture of Ready Brek. However when I next went shopping, I discovered that Quaker Oats was 75p cheaper for the 250g more in its 1kg box. Ever the economiser, I decided to switch to this instead. After all, porridge is porridge, surely. Wrong!
The first thing that is noticeable is the difference in appearance between the two products, Quaker Oats' larger flakes contrasting markedly with the fine, powdery grains of Ready Brek, which is more intensively milled and also contains 39% oat flour. Quaker Oats is 100% rolled oats, nothing else. This ought to have given me a clue that they would mix up differently.
The consistency of porridge is a matter of personal taste and usually down to how you choose to prepare it. Some like it thick and lumpy, others smooth and creamy. However it should be possible to make a porridge to your own specifications between these boundaries. Not with Quaker Oats!
The packet's instructions aren't as helpful as they could be, the recommended quantities measured either in grams or cups. If you haven't got any kitchen scales and have cups of varying sizes, this leaves a lot of guess work. The five heaped dessert spoons suggested by Ready Brek is a much clearer instruction.
Quaker Oats recommend that for one serving you use 40g or ¾ of a cup of oats mixed with either 300ml of water or milk. Cooking time is either 3½ minutes in a 800 watt microwave or 5 minutes simmering on the hob after being brought to the boil.
Following these instructions, you could stand a spoon up in the first few servings I made, the porridge was so stodgy and lacking in moisture. It also has a more bitter taste than Ready Brek, which is difficult to explain as neither have added sugar.
While it is possible to achieve a thinner consistency, it is impossible to rid yourself of all the lumps, as these are the huskier flakes that don't dissolve. Therefore if you are like me and have a keen gag reflex, eating Quaker Oats will not be a pleasant experience. I have never liked rice pudding for the same reason.
Health professionals argue that thicker porridge is better for you as it takes longer to digest, meaning the carbohydrates release more gradually, which is a more beneficial process for the heart. It also fills you up for longer. This probably means that Quaker Oats is a little more healthy for you, but we're hardly comparing good and bad in that respect here. The level of soluble fibre in the form of Beta-Glucan that is present in all whole oat products, not only lowers your cholesterol, but also boosts the immune system.
As something to slip down easily first thing in the morning, Quaker Oats doesn't fit the bill at all. Nor does it taste as pleasant as Ready Brek without adding sugar.
Those who like their porridge made the traditional way may think differently, however I would rather spend 75p more for a smaller 750g box of Ready Brek.
Porridge was all you used to get for breakfast years ago. And Mums used to have to cook it in a saucepan on the stove stirring until thick, and if the saucepan, after dishing out the porridge was not soaked in water for a time it was impossible to get it clean. It stuck like s... to a blanket my Mum used to say.
These days porridge can be cooked in the microwave, but I must admit I do like my Quaker Oats cooked in a saucepan - remember to soak the pan if not non-stick- mixing the porridge with half milk and half water does seem to me make the porridge lovely and creamy in texture. Served with cold milk in the summer and warm milk in the winter.
Quaker Oats make a statement on their packet "By the time we are 35 One in 2 of us has raised cholesterol. Oats contain a soluble fibre called beta glucan which helps soak up cholesterol. Reducing your cholesterol can help to maintain a healthy heart" Whether that is a definite proven fact in everyone of us I cannot say, what I do know is that when years ago all people had was porridge for breakfast nobody knew or spoke about cholesterol. Did they have healthy hearts? Only time will tell if our generation can prove it. In the meantime I will carry on soaking my saucepan in the morning. By the way I have a blackbird in my garden that loves the cooked porridge I have scraped from the soaked saucepan.
In my opinion, a good portion of quaker is the only way to start the morning. The massively low GI (gluceamic index) value that oats have ensure that they keep you feeling full throughout the whole day. If you are looking to diet then these are a must-eat for breakfast. As they cut down your portion size all day long.
Makes of oats
Various own brands
The top and the bottom are my favourite choices; althouigh, if you are willing to shop around and try a few different products, there is much joy to be had from trying oats from Asda and others. Asda, extra special, are also one of my favourite types of oats.
Quaker are definately my favourite type of porridge for the morning. I like to put them in the microwave and these are easily the best for doing this as they require fewer minutes and have a less microwavey taste after doing so.
Obviously, you are able to do this in the pan but it takes longer.
What else you can do
If your not to keen on the taste of oats alone, then definately add one of the following to enhance your taste:
Other various fruits
Quaker even do a range when they come ready sweetened, and i recommend giving these a try.
I love oats and find it to be the perfect start to a day out, it keeps you feeling full longer then toast and jam ever could, and dosnt contain the cholesterol that eggs and sausage do.
Oats are one of the healthiest things to eat in the morning. Not only because they are the only cereal that has protein, but also due to its cholesterol-lowering properties.
Oats also contain more fiber than any other cereal, this causes slower digestion and an extended sensation of fullness.
ABOUT QUAKER OATS
Contrary to popular belief Quaker oats are not run by Quakers. In fact they have absolutely nothing to do with them, they merely try to imply that they adhere to the same values that the Quakers do, -- integrity, honesty, purity --.
I'm not sure about all three but they do hold true to the purity part, these oats contain no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives! A 1kg box will cost you between £1.30 to £1.60 from most supermarkets.
HOW TO USE THEM.
You can use oats for so many things besides porridge, I love making flapjacks, cocoa balls or oatmeal cookies.
Making porridge is the simplest thing to make, basically it is one part oats to two parts liquid. You can use either milk or water, or even mix the two.
Oats cook very fast so you need to be quick and don't stop stirring.
Poor half the liquid in a saucepan and heat it up, add the oats, and stir. As it thickens add the remaining liquid and any sweetener you like.
Cinnamon and raisins are another nice addition to this meal.
Serve piping hot with a dot of butter and cinnamon!
This is a great snack to make with kids, there are no real amounts its just go with the flow! Mix butter with sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl. You can start off with about 250gr butter and then as much sugar and cocoa as you prefer. When it is stirred then add some flavoring that you like, I have tried vanilla, rum and coffee. My favorite is rum and vanilla!
If you like add raisins, then add enough oats to make the dough firm and malleable. Now roll the dough into balls, place them on a plate, sprinkle coconut on top and stick them in the freezer.
Serve cold preferably frozen.
This is my secret tip, that I am going to share with you now.
Oats act as a great moisturizer and exfoliater, they are a cheap and very effective facewash!
Simply place a few oats in a bowl, add enough water to moisten them and let them soak for about 30 sec (depends on the type of oat, thick rolled oats can soak longer) . Basically you want them to be wet but still have enough "roughness" to use as an exfoliate.
Now put some in your hands and rub them on your face, continue till your whole face has been scrubbed and then rinse off.
Your face will feel milky smooth, and trust me you wont regret it!
I always serve oatmeal as breakfast for my daughter. Besides the fact that it is easy to prepare-hot water, sugar and milk. Doesn't get easier than that- I know it is healthy and loaded with fibre. She needs all the fibre she can get because she has a problem with constipation. Oats are whole grain food which has many health benefits like dietary fibres, antioxidants and protein.
So, what else can I say about Quaker? Except that, I use this than any other brand because I like its stickiness when turning it into porridge. Others don't get to that point. They look scattered and uncooked even after pouring boiling water on them (I use instant all the time). It must be because of the quality of the oats Quaker use. It is a very reputable brand so having access to only the finest oats must be the name of the game.
Quaker oats is also very versatile. We can use it in numerous recipes and there's a website dedicated for this. You can check it out on the web. I am just thankful my daughter's paediatrician recommended oatmeal to be included in her diet because it has helped immensely in establishing her regular toilet activity.
Each Quaker package thoroughly elaborates the benefits of eating oatmeal like how it helps remove cholesterol that can blocked arteries and lead to heart disease. Better heed the advice. Instead of bingeing on unhealthy snacks, why not whip up a bowl of oatmeal and be in fine fettle? I always get that feeling every time I eat oatmeal. I imagine thousands of vacuum sucking up all those unnecessary fats and deliver them where they should be. The toilet!
I have porridge almost every day for breakfast because it is the most filling of all cereals and a good serving will last me till lunchtime.
I always buy Quaker Oats because they are a name I can trust.
Besides being just about the healthiest type of breakfast you can have, porridge is also one of the cheapest. I paid £1.73 for a 1kg box of Quaker Oats at my local Somerfield store. I only purchased them there out of pure convenience because I know they are a little cheaper in other supermarkets.
Quaker Oats contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and, as it says on the box, 'each serving contains enough beta glucan to begin to help reduce cholesterol' - this is a rather confusing way of explaining how it can help with cholesterol reduction, though, and I am sure they could have said the same thing in an easier-to-understand way! At least they tell you what beta glucan is - a soluble fibre that soaks up cholesterol. An average serving (45gms of oats made with 340mls of semi-skimmed milk) contains 53% beta glucan and provides 320 calories, so a daily dish of porridge will definitely be beneficial to your health as well as your pocket.
On the front of the box there is a healthy-looking image of a field of oats against a blue sky, conjuring up a mind-picture of the countryside. Under the name 'Quaker Oats' and the picture of the original Quaker himself, it says '100% wholegrain rolled oats' so at least we know that the oats themselves have not been tampered with.
The instructions on the packet give you two methods of cooking the oats. The first tells you to mix 45gms of oats with 340mls of milk (or cold water, which I've never tried and don't intend to), bring to the boil in a saucepan and simmer for five minutes. The other method uses a microwave; just put the same amounts of oats and milk as the saucepan method, but place in a microwaveable bowl and cook on full power for around four minutes. I use the microwave method but, instead of weighing and measuring the ingredients, I take one cup of oats and use the same cup to measure one cup of milk and one cup of water. I find using the cup method is much more reliable and it is easy to double or treble the quantity as long as you stick to one cup of oats to two cups of liquid.
I like my porridge served piping hot with a teaspoonful of sugar, a good slug of evaporated milk and a handful each of sultanas, Goji berries, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. A good healthy breakast that is slowly releases its energy during the morning and costs next to nothing,
Quaker oats is reputed to lower cholestrol and its energy giving qualities are released throughout the day, so it is ideal as a food for anyone suffering from a debilitating illness, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (M.E.)
It is easy to make porridge using a microwave, just add the oats to a bowl and add milk and place in the microwave for about 3 minutes, then take out and give a stir, adding more milk if it is too stodgy for your taste. You can then stir in golden syrup or add sugar, depending on your preference. The taste can be rather bland if you don't add anything other than milk, but it depends on what you like as to what you add. Some people just add a pinch of salt, others prefer a more sweet taste.
The texture can be rather like rice pudding, and you can make it thick or thin it down by adding more milk. Some people prefer to add a drop of water with the milk. It is hard to describe the taste, as it is one of its own!
Don't just think porridge is for cold winter mornings, it can be eaten all year round, but in winter its benefits are probably particularly good. It ensures you have a good start on a cold morning and continues to boost your energy levels all day.
You can now buy quick make quaker oats and these are in different flavours eg. golden syrup, natural. But check on the packet as they contain added sugar and may be too sweet for your liking. Besides, they probably are not a lot easier or quicker than making traditional porridge in the microwave.
Not everyone likes a bowl of porridge for breakfast, but Quaker Oats is such a healthy addition to the diet that a good way to make sure your family eat it is to make flapjack.(see recipe below).
If your kids or partner refuse to have a bowl of Quaker oats for breakfast, then pop a piece of flapjack in with their packed lunch as a healthy snack.
This recipe makes two large baking trays, so reduce quantities if you don't want to make so much, but it will keep for a week or two in an airtight tin, so it is worth making this quantity. This is an old recipe that has been handed down through the family so I am sorry I don't know the metric conversions.
1½ lbs margarine
1½ lbs soft brown sugar
2½ lbs quaker oats
Melt sugar and margarine together in
Large pan, stirring all the time.
Remove pan from heat and stir in
Quaker oats until well mixed.
Grease two large baking trays and
Fill with mixture.
Bake 10 15 minutes in moderate oven
I am not usually a fan of breakfast cereals, but do enjoy a nice bowl of porridge every now and then. We normally have a box of Quaker Porridge Oats in our house. A 1kg box will cost you between £1.28 and £1.43 from the main supermarkets, which is superb value for money and cheaper than many other popular breakfast cereals.
Let's start with a bit of background about porridge...
** WHAT IS PORRIDGE? **
Porridge is a simple dish made by boiling oats in water, milk or a combination of the both. It is traditionally eaten for breakfast, often with the addition of sugar or cream. In Scotland, it is a popular breakfast dish and is traditionally eaten with a sprinkling of salt. I won't be trying this myself!!
** IS IT GOOD FOR YOU? **
Porridge is one of the healthiest breakfast cereals. It has the highest protein content of any cereal and is rich in fibre which makes it excellent in preventing heart disease and illnesses like cancer. Oats are a form of 'soluble fibre' which absorb cholesterol directly from the bloodstream, thus reducing cholesterol levels.
Porridge is also surprisingly good for those trying to lose weight. It is low in calories but is still quite filling. This is because oats release energy gradually into the bloodstream, which make you less hungry throughout the day and less likely to want to eat mid-morning snacks.
Okay...back to the review.
** QUAKER PORRIDGE OATS **
Quaker is a well-known brand of porridge oats, which contains 100% rolled oats and no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. It must be one of the few breakfast cereals on the market which are 100% natural.
Quaker oats come in a unmistakably colourful box which hasn't changed much over the years. The top half is bright red and the bottom half is dark blue. There is a curvy yellow strip across the middle of the box and on top of this, a red heart, which is surrounded by a white halo effect. 'Quaker Oats' appears in bold white writing across the front and a spoon serving a delicious portion of porridge appears from the top right-hand corner of the box. Although the box looks attractive, its design and functionality are not as impressive.
The box is made from cardboard and, in my opinion, is not the best design for keeping the oats fresh for a period of time. There is a lift up flap on the top of the box which is supposed to fit back securely into a slot once you've finished pouring out the oats, but I do not think it does this satisfactorily. The oats are always at risk of escaping from the box and the flap does not ensure that the oats are kept fresh. This is the only criticism I have of the packaging, however, and it is one which is easily remedied by covering the lid with a bit of cling film, for example.
** DIRECTIONS **
Making porridge from Quaker Oats couldn't be easier. First of all, you need to place 45g (3/4 cupful) of oats into a microwaveable jug (pyrex) and add 320ml (1 and a half cups) of milk - or milk and water if you prefer. Then put the jug into the microwave for 3 or 4 minutes and cook on full power. Don't forget to handle the jug with care after cooking, as it will be very hot. Give the contents a stir. The porridge should be of the right consistency: not too thin and not too think and lumpy. Finally, pour the contents into a bowl and serve.
You can also cook porridge the conventional way by simmering it in a saucepan. This takes a bit longer than using a microwave (about 5 or 6 minutes) and is a nice way to make it as long as you can spare the time. I am always in a rush first thing in the morning getting ready for work and can't be bothered to stand stirring a saucepan!!
** APPEARANCE AND TASTE **
A good bowl of porridge should look creamy and similar in consistency to a rice pudding. In some respects, porridge looks a bit like the children's breakfast cereal, Ready Brek, but it is not as smooth and the oats are a lot larger and more visible.
As I said at the beginning, there are several ways to enjoy porridge. Some people like to eat it with a dash of milk or cream on top; others like a spoonful of marmalade, a sprinkling of sugar, or even a pinch of salt! I personally like a dash of milk and a bit of sugar just to add a little sweetness.
The best thing about porridge is that it has a wonderfully creamy texture and is always a pleasure to eat. It tastes very much like a creamed rice pudding but without the underlying sweetness. It is not salty like some cereals and, as you would expect, has a natural oaty flavour. Porridge is a warm, comforting cereal that you can enjoy at any time, safe in the knowledge that it is doing you good. I never feel hungry after eating a bowl of porridge in the morning, and on the majority of occasions, the hunger pains stay away until at least lunch time.
** NUTRITION INFORMATION **
100g of porridge provides you with:
Energy = 1500 kJ (356 calories)
Protein = 11.0g
Carbohydrate = 60.0g
Fat = 8.0g
Fibre = 9.0g
Sodium = Trace
A 1kg box contains approximately 22 servings.
Although Quaker Oats are made with 100% rolled oats, the box advises you that there may be traces of wheat and barley present too due to farming practices. If you are allergic to either of these, it is recommended that you do not try this product.
** WHAT I THINK **
Quaker Oats make the perfect bowl of porridge every time and I am very loyal to this particular brand for this reason. There are cheaper own label brands in the shops, for sure, but I am not always convinced that these are always the same in terms of quality. Quaker Oats are not only good value for money but also provide a quality breakfast cereal.