Turning Cheat Meals into Powerfood
15 December 2015
Is it possible to enjoy all the favourite Flavours of Christmastime without gaining weight? I asked myself exactly this question after having gained 5kg over Christmas last year which took 2 juice cleanses and a lot of gym in January/February to get rid of again. This year I did not want to go through the same process - I just was not in the mood for it. Plus I had some Jobs coming up beginning of the Year where I knew I'd have to be in top shape. All the same I did not want to miss out on Christmas Treats completely: So here are my healthy options in the shape of yummy breakfast porridges. Some of them where inspired by Recipes I found on PInterest - some of them are completely my own. But I tried and tasted each one and all the ones posted here are absolutely easy & delicious must try's.
O A T M E A L
Starting with some Informations about why I used Oats as a base for each of these Recipes:
Oatmeal, Overnight Oats, Soaked Oats or Porridge, are meals based on Oats, perhaps the healthiest grain out there.
I recommend a Portion of 40g (raw, uncooked Oats) which is around 155kcal divided as follows: 6.8g of Protein, 26.5g of Complex Carbohydrates, 0 Sugar, 4.2g Fiber, 2.8g of Fat. Thats a pretty awesome balance to start the day!
But there is more:
Oats are high in
Biotin: 40g equals to 25% of recommended daily intake (benefits healthy hair, nails & skin)
Zinc: 100g of Oatmeal contains the same level of Zinc as a Steak if not more.
Vitamins B1 & B6: Oats carry almost double the levels of Vitamins B1&6 compared to other grains - only Amaranth & Quinoa can keep up. Vitamin B is important for a healthy nervous system. Its benefits the Serotonin production (happy hormones) and much more.
Iron: Here Oats are also considered to be the leading grain together with Amaranth & Quinoa. Interesting: Oats contain almost double the emount of Iron compared to Red Meat, and if you combine the intake together with a Vitamin C source it gets absorbed even more efficiently.
Oats are also high in Magnesium, Fibre and Silicium.
Why is this especially important to me? Because I watch my portions and do a lot of exercise I need to especially ensure that the food I eat also delivers enough nutrition, not talking energy, but talking vitamins, minerals etc. Sure I could just eat 300g of Chocolate a day and not gain weight, but I would develop malnutrition very quickly. So this is why I choose healthy foods whenever I can - its less about saving calories sometimes (some powerfoods such as Nuts contain more calories as Chocolate per 100g, so that is not an argument). The real reason why I look for the healthy alternative is to catch the nutrition my body needs. Because my weight is on the low side I also make regular checks to see if I am not missing anything. Any of you that are dieting, exercising a lot or low in weight, (or just eating junk food all the time) I really suggest you head to your doc and do the same - just to be sure! If you like to read more detailed info on Oat this link is a great source to learn more: http://authoritynutrition.com/foods/oats/
Okay so enough health Talk - lets get to the tasty bit
Turning your Favourite Desserts Healthy
Winter & especially Christmas time can be a Diet Killer - with the cold temperatures we are craving warm comfort Foods instead of fruitsalads and steaming hot desserts & pies instead of skinny sorbets & superberrysmoothies. But Cakes and Cookies normally 75% of the Ingredients are made up of 4 same Ingredients: Flour, Sugar, Butter, Eggs - leaving a meagre 25% for flavour. Have a look at some cookbooks recipes and you will see. With little Variation you will find that all the Cake/Cookie Recipes build on this base. So a 100g end product will contain around 25g of saturated animal fat (YUCK), 25g of refined carbohydrates and 25g of pure glucose - nice! Now just take a piece of Cake and weigh 100g on your kitchen scale and see how big of a piece you get!
I noticed that whenever I craved that Carrot Cake, that Banana Bread or Apple Pie - it was not the white flour, refined sugar or butter that I craved - what I actually desired was the taste of sweet caramelized spicy cooked carrot, or the soft warm pieces of sweet banana together with melted pieces dark chocolate, or those tender pieces of apple roasted together cinnamon, vanilla, almonds and raisins. I noticed; it was the flavours that I craved - not the base. So i kept the flavours and just switched the base to create healthy clean, mostly vegan yummy breakfast recipes:
I cut the Butter, Flour, Sugar & Eggs - replaced it with Oatmeal and added lots of flavour. By doing this I reduce the fat content per 100g of finished product by over 20g, I replace the refined carbohydrates by complex ones, I increase the content of plantbased Protein, and I reduce the Sugar by at least 50%: again replacing white refined sugar by less processed & clean substitutes.
Base: I always start with 40g of Oats & 10g of Millet (the Millet is optional & will not benefit the taste; I only add that for extra nutritional purposes).
Soak the Oats in plenty of Water overnight, or at least some minutes if possible. Pinch of Salt - I add a pinch of Salt to all my Porridges for savory taste. No Milk: I prefer to make the porridge using water.
Depending on which Recipe I'd like to make, I add its specific ingredients:
APPLE PIE: Add 1 medium sized grated apple, 20g of brown raisins, 1/2tsp of vanilla paste, 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Optional: a bit of grated fresh ginger if you have, 2 tablespoons of ground almonds, 1 Shot of Coconut Cream (yes, I use a shotglass to measure that). You can add your preferred sweetener if you like - for this recipe I don't need one because the apple & raisins are so sweet. You can also add some chopped dates, dried pineapple or fig if you are in the mood for it. Boil it up together and let it simmer for 3-4 Minutes and serve steaming.
kcal 250-400 for the whole bowl depending on how many ingredients you add.
ZIMTSTERN OATMEAL: the favourite Christmas Cookie turns healthy but tastes the same
To the Base add: 20g of ground almonds, 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon, 1 Shot of Kirsch (Cherry Liquor), pinch of Vanilla, preferred sweetener (I used 1 tsp of brown sugar).
Boil again & simmer for 3-4 Minutes (make sure to stirr well so that the Kirsch dissolves, or else your porridge will make an excellent hangover cure).
The quickest homemade delicious and healthy Gingerbread Recipe yet!
To the Base add: Grated Peel & Juice of Orange, Nutmeg, Cardamon, Cinnamon, grated fresh ginger, Honey (I prefer to use Ginger Syrup), finely chopped dates. Add as much of each spice as you like to get the desired taste - experiment a bit. Its like using salt: some people prefer to use more, others less. Its your breakfast: so it should suit YOUR taste.
Mix all the Ingredients, boil and simmer again for 3-4 Minutes: its so simple! Once you get the routines with these Oatmeal recipes you will love them!
CARROT CAKE OATMEAL:
This is the recipe that got me started with the 'Porridge Desserts' - I found this recipe on PInterest (see Pic) and immediately copied it at home. It was after returning from my Bootcamp in Ibiza and I was turning around my diet to be macrobiotic. I tried and loved the recipe so much - its one of my favourites now.
To the Base add: 1 grated carrot, 1 tsp of chopped nuts like walnuts, almonds or macadamia, zest & juice of 1 lemon, pinch of fresh grated ginger, vanilla, nutmeg, shot of coconut cream or pineapple juice are fun variations aswell, a toss of raisins or chopped dates - recently I started adding seeds too, like sunflower or pumpkin seeds are great. I have even added chopped pistachios - which was absolutely delicious! Just be creative, because you cannot really go wrong!
The Carrot Cake Porridge I let cook for a little longer - because the carrot requires longer cooking time. So 5-10 Minutes may be necessary - unless I presoak the grated carrot overnight together with the oats - then 3-4 Minutes is totally sufficient.
CHOCOLATE BANANA PORRIDGE:
To be honest I am not the biggest fan of bananas - in smoothies I do not like the taste of Banana at all, and I never use it. There are 2 Banana recipes I love though: Fried Banana the way its served as a dessert in chinese Restaurants, or Chocolate Banana Bread; which I love to make myself. Both of those Recipe's are definite 'Cheat Meal' choices - being high in processed sugar and fats. Lucky us, the Banana & Chocolate Combo works fantastic as a Porridge too - the taste of banana chocolate is identical, but instead of a load of butter and refined flour the Porridge contains a perfect portion of complex carbohydrates to keep your energy level high all through morning.
So to my base of 40g of soaked Oats I add 1 Banana, 20g of dark chocolate chips, or chopped pieces of chocolate, 1 tsp of cacao, 2/3 dates, 1 shot of coconut milk. If you are not a coconut milk fan you can skip it - I love coconut milk and can rarely resist temptation to add it whereever I can. Instead of coconut milk you can also add a tad of butter, coconut oil, almond milk or cream to make it richer.
Again bring everything together to a boil and let simmer for 3-4 Minutes - Enjoy HOT!
Even though there is no Toast in this yummy cinnamon Oatmeal recipe, it is still the least healthy recipe among all those listed. It is not vegan - because to prepare French Toast the use of Egg and Milk is essential, plus I think that french toast is not french toast if there is no sugar. So for this recipe simply add 1 dl of milk (cream is optional is you prefer it even creamier) and 1 egg plus 2 tsp of brown sugar and cinnamon. Just stirr all the ingredients together with the soaked oats to make sure that the egg is completely cooked and enjoy! If you like you can also throw some additional sugar on top of the porridge and pop it into the oven at 150' for some minutes so that the sugar glazes, creating a crunchy caramelized crust. IF you so happen to have a bunsen burner like the ones use to make creme brulee of course that would be perfect to create that amazing crunchy crust.
POPPYSEED BLUEBERRY VANILLA:
This one is just one I made up actually. My mom always makes amazing poppyseed vanilla cake on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve - its a family tradition, and I really enjoy it. So I just substituted 20g of Oats with 20g of Poppyseeds and added lots of vanilla. Soaking it together and then boiling together with Blueberries and a tad of maplesirup. Sometimes I added acai or orange juice together with some orange zest aswell - but this is totally optional.
The combination of Blueberry, Vanilla and Poppyseed is a super delicious one though, and the preparation is so simple - making it one of my favourites. Instead of Blueberry any other berries can be used such as blackberry, mixed forest berries and elderberry make great matches.
Wintertime is Chestnut Time. Chestnuts are great if you are a clean eater - this is one of the nicest treats to have. Chestnuts are unprocessed but very sweet. The chestnut puree "Vermicelles" is a popular swiss dessert combined with merengue, vanilla icecream and whipped cream - tasty - but very high in sugar and fat. So instead of eating the pureed chestnuts together with the whipping cream and icecream - I prefer to add some to my oatmeal. About 50g of pure puree is enough, along with vanilla, cinnamon and if you want to add a crushed merengue as topping its certainly a nice idea. Even if you add some cream to your oatmeal it will still be a much healthier & whole alternative to Vermicelles.
These are my 7 fave Oatmeal Flavour Combo's for the seasons, but the possibilities are endless. Oatmeal is super simple and easy like throwing together a salad. Its just a question of what you are in the mood for, and the portioning is completely up to your preference. Most importandly its making the choice of eating healthy grains instead of processed ones. For better health, energy levels and wellbeing. You can of course use other grains instead of Oats - I have tried using Quinoa or Chia seeds so far & will share some recipe's tipps & tricks soon.
Feel free to share your feedback by commenting below or share your favourite Oatmeals by tagging them #sweetforbreakfast for them to show up below.