After sleep, your body needs some food ( and coffee ) to get your energy level up. A complex carbohydrate is necessary for energy, and your brain will need a bit of glucose to get all the synapses firing. Porridge, which can be made from a variety of grains, hot liquid, and the add-ins of your choice, is an ideal choice.
Porridge is an Ideal Choice Before a Morning Ride
Because morning is usually the coolest part of the day, a bowl of porridge is a terrific choice to warm up your core and fire up your digestive system. An oat-based porridge is an ideal way to lower cholesterol levels.
Most whole grains also have a low glycemic index, so you won’t feel the mid-morning energy droop and corresponding hunger that can often hit after skipping breakfast or going too light on your morning meal.
Porridge Recipes: Base Plus Add-Ons
For your first meal of the day, it’s best to avoid processed sugars. Luckily, a stout oat porridge actually tastes best with simple sugars, such as fresh fruit. Unsalted nuts are also an ideal addition to a hot bowl of porridge. Once your grain is completely cooked, you could add:
- fresh blueberries and unsalted sunflower seeds
- fresh raspberries and slivered almonds
- sliced strawberries and a dollop of Greek yogurt
- banana and cinnamon
Read more: Are bananas good for cycling?
You can also add fruits while cooking your porridge. Dried raisins, cranberries, and blueberries are a lovely addition to hot porridge as it finishes cooking. Chopped dried apricots and a few dates will change up the flavor, especially if you toss the slightly sticky fruit in a bit of cardamom or cinnamon before stirring them into the hot porridge to relax and release some sweetness to your porridge.
Finally, it’s a tradition in many places to add a bit of butter to your porridge. This adds just a little salt to the mix, which can make frozen berries, such as cherries, taste amazing. While you’re adding cherries, add a bit of grated dark chocolate to increase the flavor intensity.
A word about texture: Some people don’t like cooked grains because they’re too sticky. You can change up your porridge texture by starting with a little low sugar granola in the bowl, adding some fresh fruit and a little yogurt, and top it with hot porridge. Instead of being the basis of the dish, porridge becomes the binder.
Should I eat breakfast before cycling?
A bowl of porridge is an ideal prep before a hard workout or a long morning with little opportunity for snacking, particularly if you don’t add too much processed sugar. Whole oats take a while to digest, so your energy level will stay consistent.
Read more: Healthy Grocery List for Cyclists
Additionally, the whole oats are extremely nutritious and high in minerals. The fruit you add are loaded with Vitamins and antioxidants. Adding fresh fruit will particularly increase your fiber and roughage intake, which will support your cleansing organs. Finally, unlike breakfast dishes that contain meat, most porridge dishes are low in sodium, which will prevent excess thirst.
Is a bowl of porridge enough for breakfast?
A serving of oatmeal topped with simple sugars and a bit of fat is actually an ideal way to get your digestive system gently moving along. Overloading an empty stomach with foods that make it work too hard, such as a heavy meat-based meal with no fiber, is not kind.
Porridge made of whole oats will certainly take effort to digest, but the fiber content will reduce the “shock” to the gut caused by a heavy meal high in fat and meat proteins. There’s nothing wrong with meals high in protein, but in the process of breaking your fast, your body needs a more balanced approach. Porridge with fruit is a way to gently nourish the physical systems that have been running on empty all night.
Is it bad to have porridge everyday?
Porridge is a bit like potatoes on the scale of healthy foods. Potatoes are healthy; loading them with sour cream, butter and bacon reduces their health benefits. An oat-based porridge is healthy; loading it with processed sugars that will cause a glucose spike is not.
Read more: Is Chocolate Good for Cycling?
It’s also important to focus on whole oats. Highly processed oatmeal packets that will turn to a sugary mush when paired with hot water is not porridge. Some of these products contain more processed sugars than a candy bar, which is not a healthy breakfast.
Whole oats can take a while to cook. You can shorten the prep time by soaking your oats overnight and finishing the cooking process in the morning. You can also store cooked oats in the refrigerator and warm them up before adding your favorite toppings.
Savory oats can also be a breakfast treat. Again, start with a plain bowl of oats. Top it with a pat of butter, sliced or chopped boiled egg, and chopped salted nuts. In the United States, cornmeal porridge can be refrigerated until it’s firm, sliced, and fried in bacon grease.
Finely chopped smoked and cooked meats can be stirred in while it’s hot, then sliced and fried before serving. Of course, the higher the fat content, the lower the health benefit, but as a treat at the end of a long cold day, savory porridge can be a wonderful treat.
Cooked rice dishes are considered porridge in some cultures. In the western world, creamy rice puddings are often served as desserts instead of breakfast. Plain porridge mixed with sweet milk or sweetened yogurt can also serve as a treat at the end of a meal.
Finally, if you have a crockpot, you can cook your porridge overnight and wake up to a creamy, delicious hot breakfast. Be aware that you may want to coat the inside of the crockpot with just a bit of butter for a better release. If you’re up in the night, stir the pot to avoid crisping at the edges.
How To Make a Porridge
This is my favorite video explaining in detail how to make a good porridge for cyclists. Enjoy!