*This is an advertorial feature with Quaker Oats*
Ok hands up who regularly skips breakfast in favour of a latte on the run while desperately trying to concoct a valid excuse why you’re late to the office again? That was me a few years back when I worked full time in an agency, and breakfast was a pretty non existent meal in my life. No matter how early I got up, I always seemed to be rushing to choose an outfit, do my hair and make up and still make it in time to catch the tube at 8am. There was never time for such luxury acts as sitting down to eat a bowl of cereal before I left. Never.
Now that I’m freelance, that’s all changed however and I’d say that these days breakfast is probably my favourite meal of the day. One of the true perks for me of being my own boss, and being able to work from home for a chunk of my week, is the fact that I can afford myself a slightly slower start to my days (I’ve never been a morning person) and while I might still get up at the same hour as before, there’s no mad rush to be ready and out the door by a set time. So breakfast can be weaved in alongside the checking and replying to emails, the applying of make up or choosing of clothes for the day (or equally it can be eaten at my desk in my pyjamas without any intention of changing that appearance in the next 12 hours – I promise I don’t do that that often).
There’s so many reasons to love breakfast, the main one being that pretty much anything goes! During the week I try and avoid last nights pizza (ahem) and opt for healthy choices such as cereals, muesli, or porridge topped with fruit and nuts and a drizzle of honey, while at the weekend I’ll get a little more creative with batches of pancakes or bacon and avocado on toast.
Right now, my go-to is a bowl of steaming hot porridge mixed up each day with different flavours and fruits. It’s the ultimate get up and go during the winter months especially, when the weather outside is cold and miserable and all you crave is a warm hearty hug in a bowl to start your day. At the start of the year I bought a big box of Quaker Oats and I have to say that no other breakfast is getting a look in at the moment. You’ve probably all seen the recent Quaker Oats advert starring none other than Buzz Aldrin, where he admits that the morning he walked on the moon during his Apollo 11 mission he set himself up with some oats. Well I figure if the mighty oat* is able to get a man to the moon, then it’s definitely able to get me through my tax return!
Even on the days I do find myself going into an office or leaving the house early for an event, the thought of rushing out on an empty stomach just doesn’t appeal anymore. I’ll try and make sure I bring something tasty with me to make at my desk, or shock horror, prioritise eating something before I leave, over getting my hair looking just so. Because, honestly, I’ve come to love my tasty breakfasts first thing, and I’ve really come to love that slow and calm start as opposed to the mad, stressful dash that sets your day off on the wrong foot.
For me it really does make a huge difference and there’s no doubt that starting the day with a big bowl of porridge ensures I have a lot more motivation for the tasks that lie ahead of me. In the office I used to feel tired and groggy first thing, unable to concentrate on anything other than my rumbling stomach, and drinking multiple cups of tea to get me through to 1pm when I could finally indulge myself with lunch. Now, if I start the day with something satisfying like a bowl of Quaker Oats, mornings are usually my most productive time work wise. I’ll get up early and bash through photography while the light is good, or power through copy while my mind is active. With a good breakfast in me, I don’t crave tea breaks or sweet snacks as much and while lunch is now the meal that often becomes a bit of a chore (if I’m busy writing, ‘in the zone’ and don’t want to interrupt my flow) breakfast is something I’ll rarely go without. Even more so since becoming pregnant – I wake up at the crack of dawn ravenous so there’s no chance this baby is letting me skip anything!
Quaker Oats are currently encouraging us all to follow in Buzz Aldrin’s footsteps (not literally of course – although that would be awesome!) and start our days with ‘the mighty oat*’ to see just how much we can achieve after a healthy start. And they’ve only gone and sent a batch of oats up into space too, to make sure we all get the benefits Buzz got from his ‘space oats’. If like me, you need no excuse to start your day with a tasty porridge bowl then try out the galactic inspired recipe below (one of my faves) to kick start your porridge love affair again this year, and see if you too find your day more productive because of it.
*Oats contain oat beta-glucon which has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. High blood cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of heart disease.
Galactic Swirl Porridge Bowl
1 sachet of Original Oats so Simple ‘space oats’ (per person)
180ml milk (the packs give you a handy measuring guide so you can just fill to the line – easy!)
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon pistachio kernels, finely chopped
50g strawberries, chopped
50g blackberries, halved
How it’s done
Place the strawberries and raspberries into one deep bowl, and the blackberries and blueberries into another and whizz both up using a hand held blender until you get a puree. (alternatively if you have a smoothie maker or Nurtibullet just pop them in there – nice and quick)
Place your oats in a bowl along with the milk and and pinch of cinnamon, mix up and heat according to the pack instructions (2 mins in a micro)
Once heated, give your bowl a good mix and then using a teaspoon (or a piping bag if you want it to look extra Instagram worthy) drizzle your strawberry puree on top of the porridge in a swirl pattern. Do the same with the blackberry puree or dot it in places.
Use a skewer or edge of a fork to drag out your puree swirl into a galactic star shape. Add a scattering of pistachios and then get stuck in!
As I’ve reached the third trimester of my pregnancy, my overall energy has definitely taken a dip and my get up and go for the day was left somewhere around the 28 week mark. Usually by mid afternoon I’m starting to flag and perhaps needing 20 winks on the sofa to get me through. So while I’m still working and have deadlines looming, productive mornings really are key for me. Luckily (ha) mini is on board with that and usually wakes me up with their wriggling before the sun has even come up, so a slow start with a cuppa and a bowl of porridge is just what I need to wake me from that slumber. By 8/9am I’ve already answered my emails and planned my social media posts and I’m ready to get cracking with the to-do list for a few hours before heading out for a daily waddle in the fresh air, running some errands and returning home to tackle some admin and indulge myself in some baby shopping. That might sound like a pretty slow day to some, but believe me when you’re carrying around a 6lb baby in your stomach, suffering constant back and hip ache and waddling like a penguin, managing all of that in a day makes you feel like superwoman!
So tell me, are you a breakfast person? And what’s your porridge recipe of choice? And if you’re not a breakfast person, well you’re missing out! Get yourself some Quaker Oats and see how much difference it makes to your day.
*This post was in collaboration with Quaker Oats, but I genuinely do love a bowl of porridge in the morning and as always all words and photos are my own. Thanks for supporting these features! To find out more about the space oats visit Quaker.co.uk or follow them on Instagram or Facebook)*