How do we get our kids to eat a quick and healthy breakfast that will keep them satisfied for their long and busy day ahead? Parents often think that porridge is too time-consuming to cook from scratch on a weekday morning. Not true!
My daughter turned three this year and started school in September. While breakfast always was an important meal in this family, I looked at it differently once we had to get up early in the morning and make sure her belly was full (of healthy things that could help her battle all the icky germs at school) before sending her off for the day. There are a few different options that turned out to be our favorites (and I’ll share them all with you!). Today we can focus on an oldie but goodie – one that works every time – porridge!
Porridge variations: Hot or Cold
Ingredients for 1 bowl:
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup filtered water
- Spices: I always use a teaspoon of cinnamon, vanilla is a great option, as well as maca mixed with cacao if you want to make it chocolately
- ½ to 1 cup milk: I like to use non-dairy, like oat, rice, almond or coconut milk.
- Toppings: Any kind of seasonal fruit (bananas, clementines, cooked apples or pears are great in the winter, I like to do peaches, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in the summer!), chia seeds, some kind of dried fruit like white mulberries, goji berries, raisins, dried apricots or cranberries.
- Sweeten to taste with honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar, but honestly, we never feel like it’s needed – the spices and non-dairy milk give it a lot of flavor.
Pour the rolled oats, spices and water into a small saucepan on low-medium heat. Stir frequently, adding the milk as it starts to bubble. This only takes a few minutes (four at most). Remove from heat once the liquid is just absorbed. Serve in a bowl with the toppings and add whatever milk is leftover. This hot version really takes 5-7 minutes total prep time and is so easy to change every day so it doesn’t feel like the same old thing every morning. Plus the bowl is colorful and easy to style because of the toppings, which makes it very appealing for kids feeling picky or grumpy in the morning (or … let’s face it … grumpy and picky parents).
Tip: If you cook the oats with raisins instead of adding them as a topping, they become plump and naturally sweeten the bowl of porridge.
Just swap the rolled oats for buckwheat, add them to a jar with the milk, spices and sweeteners of your choice, and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, serve with toppings and voila! How incredibly easy is that? Bonus: It’s a gluten-free breakfast option!
3 fun things to know when picking your toppings:
- Chia seeds are full of fiber, protein, omega 3 and calcium, which is why I like to add them to every bowl. My daughter loves them and asks for me to add the “crunchy please”.
- Mulberries are full of antioxidants, vitamin C and iron.
- Cinnamon is full of antioxidants and … fiber! Huh, who knew?