Porridge oats are EASILY my favourite go-to meal. When my IBS is at its worse – where literally anything I eat makes my stomach go absolutely nuts, no matter how healthy or low FODMAP it is, oats are sometimes my only option.
It can get me down quite a lot in the beginning, and I regularly felt like I was better off simply not eating or drinking anything at all. With this warped mentality, I started to drop weight rapidly, and not in a good way – I got fatigued more easily which only made me feel more down.
That’s why I make sure I always have porridge oats at hand. Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner, I’m aware that oats are sometimes the only food source which settles my stomach. Not only does it not cause problems, but it also keeps me full (dense in rich carbs) and leaves me feeling satisfied. Any other foods, if it hadn’t already made my stomach go mental after only several minutes, it never filled me up or annoyingly made me crave more food.
Living off porridge oats, however, can seem a little bland on the face of it. And it is – if you just think that, in a world of flavours and textures, this meal is simply oats & water (I don’t have mine with milk). But what makes oats the best thing in the world is that you can throw anything you like on it, using the grain as a phenomenal base.
My favourite toppings were difficult to pin down as I have so many I regularly go for, but here are my top 5 porridge toppings which are tasty, indulgent and can be enjoyed at any time of the day!
Natural Yoghurt & Chocolate Syrup
You might be thinking – how can chocolate syrup be IBS-friendly? It’s full of sugar…
Not quite. I recently discovered a sugar-free chocolate sauce which is super-duper rich and naturally sweetened. The Choc Shot from Sweet Freedom is rich in flavanols (using more cocoa and natural chocolate flavours and zero sucrose) and derives its sweetness from natural fruit extracts, such as in apples, grapes and carob.
Seriously, you thought the 100% hazelnut healthy Nutella by Why Nut was incredible? The Choc Shot tops it for richness and complete indulgence! Squirt only a few drops of this stuff into your porridge and mix in with some fat-free natural yoghurt (this is great for neutralising the strong flavour of the cocoa). You can also try the rest of their range, which includes Choc Shot with Orange, Choc Shot with Coconut and, if you’re fed up of chocolate, they even do Sugar-free Syrups derived from natural fruit extracts!
Green Apple Cinnamon with a Date Spread
Chop up a few apples and sprinkle a little cinnamon and you might think it tastes good, but it needs a little extra. That’s why I’ve started swirling in a little date sesame spread from Savvy Spreads before I throw in the apples and it makes the world of difference to the overall flavour.
Thick but not lumpy, the oats cling to the natural sweetness of the dates, sesame, carob, agave and spices and is a great gooey replacement for sugar-laden jams and other preserves.
Peanut Butter With Chocolate Coconut Milk
I always used to add in regular creamy crunchy peanut butter which was fine for if I wanted a really heavy oaty meal, but when I want something light but still nutty, I much prefer adding in the powdered peanut butter from PPB. It provides a more refreshing nutty taste and the oats don’t cling to the top of your mouth like with regular pb.
If it is a richer more filling porridge you’re looking for, try regular crunchy peanut butter and squirt in a little of Koko’s dairy-free coconut milk. They’ve got all sorts of flavours, with my favourite in porridge their chocolate type. It’s such a great replacement for water to soak up the oats and goes so tastily with the peanut butter.
Banana Powder with Grated Cacao
With oats, I always feel like the subtly sweet taste of banana would go great, but I prefer to eat bananas in their whole form as I really appreciate their interesting texture. So how do you get the same banana-y flavour without adding any bananas? Easy – stir in a spoonful or two of Supernutrients banana powder!
As I always like to add a little bit of texture to my oats, I also either finely chop or grate some of Cavalier’s 85% dark chocolate and sprinkle on top of the banana oats. This chocolate is sweetened with Stevia so it’s not a problem for my digestion at all – so I can enjoy it just like a dessert but know it’s also super good for me! The Dark Berries one is my absolute faveeee.
Sunflower Seeds with Dried Apricots
I don’t care about the bad press dried fruit has recently received in the press. At the end of the day, naturally-occurring sugar in foods such as fruit are only bad or worse for you than a spoonful of table sugar if they also have a high glycemic index. Most dried fruits, yes, have a shockingly high GI in their dried form when compared with their raw form, but a good percentage of them don’t. Dried apples, pears, plums and apricots are amongst the dried fruits with the lowest GI, all with a GI less than 30 (depending on your portion size).
So that’s why I think it’s safe to add chopped up dried apricots to my porridge. And the repercussions – or lack of them – speak for themselves; I experience no insulin spike and feel satisfied after chowing down. My favourite dried apricots at the moment come from Sunny’s Fruit Farm as they’re so gooey, thick and take a good load of chewing (a lot of mastication is great for the digestive system as it takes longer for the body to process the foods).
As I keep my apricot portion fairly low in order to keep in line with the low GI index (only 2 or 3 chopped up apricots per bowl), I always feel something else is needed. Adding in a spoonful of two of crunchy sunflower seeds works so well with the gooey apricots, and it also provides a good batch of your healthy fats for the day!
Do you have any more IBS-friendly porridge ideas? I’d love to hear about them and give them a go! Do get in touch 🙂