Banana Porridge Recipe | Oats vs. Quinoa

Every year around this time I start to feel the aftermath of all the heavy Christmas meals I ate in December. So far, I’ve had a pretty healthy January, yet I feel like I’ve gained a little weight since the new year… which is frustrating. It happens every year though… I know that for me it is normal and to ignore the scales in January; to just stick to my routine and things will balance back out in time.

I do however end up with cravings for the hearty meals to continue… so porridge is my go to breakfast dish. It satisfies a craving and keeps me full until (I’d like to say lunch but..) 11.

Traditional porridge – just milk and oats – can get tiresome for me. So here is an alternative porridge recipe I’ve been enjoying lately.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetOriginally, I wanted to test out quinoa flakes (rather than oats). I intended to hop on the bandwagon and share a quinoa inspired recipe… but here’s what I learned in the process…

Why quinoa flakes?

One notable nutritional difference quinoa has over oats is it’s protein content and quality; there’s more protein in quinoa.

Each cup of cooked quinoa provides 8.1 grams of protein, compared to 5.6 grams in an equivalent portion of cooked oatmeal.

Why Not Quinoa flakes?

Well first of all, they are £6-8 for only 400g. Oats are around £1-2 for 1kg! It’s a no brainer financially.

But quinoa does offer 118 milligrams of magnesium per serving, compared to oatmeal’s 61 milligrams — Oatmeal however offers more than five times the amount of iron found in quinoa.

Quinoa vs Oats Bottom-line

Quinoa flakes and oats are both great breakfast foods and a healthy source of carbohydrates, protein, fibre and micronutrients.

In my opinion it’s not worth breaking the bank for quinoa flakes… I’ll stick with oats for my porridge. I did experiment though and it turns out that regular quinoa (usually £2.50 per 500g) is quite tasty in this porridge recipe as well… but the texture is a bit funny.

Banana Porridge Recipe

In this recipe you can use oats or quinoa flakes.

Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 5 minutes

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Staying fit over the holidays

The days are short and there are loads of social engagements during the month of December. Between Christmas parties, family meals and gatherings the holiday period can leave us feeling overfed and sluggish.

In England, celebrating the holidays is a motion that lasts the entire month. It’s always difficult for me to find the right balance.

I have to remind myself that the priority during the holidays is sharing time and creating memories with people you care about. Time at the gym will have to take the hit and that’s fine. But I do have a few tips that will help you to stay feeling fit through the festivities.

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The Sugar Free Challenge

Firstly, Happy Canadian Thanksgiving Everyone!! Thanksgiving is about celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year with family and friends. I have so much to be thankful for and am excited to share this year’s Thanksgiving feast with an old friend of  mine who lives up north near the Lake District here in England. Kelly is preparing a feast today and I cannot wait to indulge!

Starting tomorrow however, I will be attempting a sugar free diet for the rest of the month. And I challenge you to be conscious of your sugar intake as well.

Until doing some research, I would have said I have a very low sugar diet. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and I make most of my meals and snacks with no added sugar. It turns out however, that though my sugar intake may be lower than average, it is much higher than the recommended daily sugar intake, which is 6-9 teaspoons.

Going sugar free was my roommate Kailee’s idea after a recent chocolate binge in Switzerland (can’t blame her!). We have been reading up on it and plan to use many of the recipes and advice provided from Deliciously Ella.

At a high-level, here are a few high-sugar items which you should consider cutting out of your diet completely…

minimize your sugar intake by CUTTING OUT THE FOLLOWING:
  1. Soft drinks, energy drinks and fruit juices
  2. Low-Fat ‘diet foods’ often have fat removed from them which get replaced with sugar
  3. Canned fruits preserved in sugary syrups
  4. Dried fruits
  5. Candies and sweets
  6. Processed/ pre-packaged food (Heinz ketchup is 24% sugar!)

Getting more meticulous, keep an eye on your intake of the following very nutritious but high in sugar foods…

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Soft Coconut Rice Squares

A perfect snack – both filling and packed with healthy fats and nutrients. These will get you past the 11am hunger pains at the office and/or those low times on a long bike ride.

I often make these on Sunday evening so they are kept handy for the week. For those who have sensitive diets, these are gluten free, dairy free and vegan friendly.

Prep: 5 minutes
Simmer: 20 minutes
Result: 18 Coconut Rice Squares

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Flapjack Recipe

This weekend I baked a loaf of banana bread (recipe here) and three trays of flapjacks. I know a recipe is worth sharing when Dan eats an entire tray before they even cool off!

I have a couple great recipes to share that are PERFECT for long runs or long rides on the bike.

These flapjacks are nutritious, healthy, high in carbs and just what you need to re-fuel.

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Prep: 10 minutes
Bake: 30 minutes
Result: 20 healthy & hearty flapjacks!

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Small Lifestyle Changes that make a Big Difference

WalkIf you’re like most – you are sitting in an office 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday… you sit during your commute to the office and then back home again, and by the time you get in you’re exhausted so you sit some more. How do we fit activity into our daily lives when the environment around us is promoting comfort and ease?

Small changes to this routine, will make a big difference to your health and wellness. Here are a few tips to get more activity into your day-to-day routine…

At your desk – Do sitting calf raises while you’re on the phone and get your blood flowing.

Lunch – Go for a short walk at lunch rather than sitting the entire time.

Shopping – Rather than fighting for a space at the front of the parking lot… park at the back and walk up.

Commuting – Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.

Watching TV – Get up and walk around during commercials.

Cooking – Put on some music and dance!

Finally, I strongly recommend using a pedometer to track your activity — especially for those that are just starting out. Whether you’re stuck in a non-active rut or if you’re simply looking to fit more activity into your lifestyle, than the first step is knowing what your activity is now, and then setting a goal to increase it. Setting a step count goal and tracking your activity will help motivate you to park further away, walk during lunch or dance more while you prepare dinner! It won’t be long before you notice having more energy.

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