This month I have been experiencing the challenge of having to get a five-year-old out to school for the first time, which is a bit of a change for us all! Breakfast has taken on a whole new importance and is a key element of our new morning routine. Luckily for me the kids have settled on porridge — not just any old bowl of porridge but our own secret recipe Super Porridge, which we have refined to a fine art!
Super Porridge (for two small kids)
• 1 cup of organic standard oats
• 1 good tablespoon organic raisins or sultanas
• Soak these overnight in the pan by just covering the oats in cold water (we don’t put this in the fridge but if concerned about the temperature in your kitchen then you certainly can)
• In the morning, cook with the lid on at the lowest heat setting while you get everyone dressed. Check to make sure it doesn’t stick every five minutes or so. Alternatively leave it till they are nearly ready and cook on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
• Then add: 1 mashed up ripe banana, 1 teaspoon vitamin powder (I use Biocare Complete Complex for kids), 1 teaspoon extra virgin raw coconut oil.
• Mix well and serve with milk of choice (rice, raw, coconut, hemp, soya, ’normal’ — there’s such a selection of milks these days!). The raisins swell up, the banana makes it sweet, the coconut oil makes it creamy…overall a healthy and delicious breakfast.
Ok so, why all the fuss? First and foremost, I want a warm filling breakfast that will take them through the morning, and oats are an obvious choice, as they are a slow release carbohydrate. We’re trying to cut out all refined sugars and sweeteners. There are all the usual concerns about overloading with sugar and obesity but we’ve also noticed that sugar turns these particular little darlings into screaming dervishes! So in general we avoid sugars like the plague. We used to sweeten the porridge with a little honey but a banana seems an even better option with its added fibre and potassium. Vitamin powder is an easy way of getting added nutrition into them without having to give them too many tablets. But the secret ingredient really is the coconut oil…
I could use cream in the super porridge. I love cream, and it tastes great in porridge. But coconut oil contains so much more than cream in terms of all our health. I have been reading a lot about coconut oil and brain health recently. Apparently eating coconut oil is a way to create ‘Ketone Bodies’ that directly feed our brain and keep it in good shape. This is of huge interest to those of us who want to improve our own brain function (essential for helping kids do their homework!), and is also of interest in terms of growing and developing brains. We already knew that omega 3 Fatty Acids are good for calming kids down and improving concentration and learning, but coconut oil also has a lot to offer — adding it to porridge is said to stabilise the blood sugar release from the oats and this will mean that they stay satisfied for longer. Coconut oil is also good for helping to aid weight loss, which can be an issue for children, as well as adults these days. And the extra bonus — it tastes great! (If you want to know more about the health benefits of coconut oil you can look up our blog on www.organico.ie where you will see a whole article published in March this year.)
Super Fruit Salad
My husband and I have been on a grain-free and carbohydrate-free diet since March, so unfortunately no porridge for us! On weekdays we usually stick to fruit or smoothies for breakfast. A good fruit salad is quick and easily made with a banana, an apple, a pear, an orange, a kiwi, a plum and a handful of blueberries. This is an Autumn fruit salad; obviously in the height of the summer it can be much more adventurous, as there is lots more fruit available. Then, we like to jazz up it up with an Irish made superfood breakfast topping which contains mulberries, gogi berries, and chia seeds — it’s tasty and gives the salad a crunch. We also like kefir on top — it’s a natural refreshing probiotic yoghurt drink that provides a nice counterbalance to the fruit and is also a good digestive aid. Plain probiotic yoghurt would also be good here. Because the virgin coconut oil is hard and needs to be melted we use liquid MCT oil instead, which is an extract from coconut oil, it has no taste but gives the same (but concentrated) benefits. Add some Cacao nibs (they give a great chocolatey flavour!) and there you have the healthiest fruit salad ever!
Another healthy breakfast option (which is also very quick for those mornings when time just doesn’t go your way) is a fresh homemade protein-based smoothie. The smoothie we like is based around a protein powder — the protein balances out the fruit sugars and helps to keep you fuller for longer. Again I use Kefir or a plain yoghurt as a base, add a banana, and some protein powder (see below for a few options but your local wholefood shop will be able to advise you) or Superlife powder — you can see the different options at the end of this piece. Blend it all up with some MCT oil and you have an instant healthy breakfast!
Healthy Breakfast Buying Guide (from all good Wholefood Shops):
• Biona Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
• SuperLife Superfood Breakfast Topping
• Nua Naturals Cacao Nibs
• Terranova Life Powder
• SuperLife Green Smoothie Blend
• Kefir (there are several brands available)
• Biocare Complete Nutrition for Kids
• MCT Oil (again several brands are available)