This unsung breakfast superstar goes hand in hand with cycling like espresso or switchbacks on a mountain road. They are cheap, readily available, easy to prepare and most of all super healthy - providing a perfect fuel for rides and training.
On colder days and over the winter months porridge is the go-to oaty breakfast for most riders when something warm is needed before heading out into the cold. Another way to prepare them is by soaking them overnight which softens them and then topping with fruit and nuts - by the morning they’re ready to go straight out the fridge. Ideal for a quick pre or post-ride breakfast or something to take on the move on a race day when you have an early start.
As a fuel source oats are nutritionally complete as they contain slow-release carbohydrates, protein as well as a range of healthy fats. They are also good for your gut as they contain high levels of soluble fibre and due to the low ranking on the Glycemic index will sustain blood sugar levels - this means less spikes in insulin levels.
One of the reasons for soaking them overnight is not only to make them more palatable by softening them up but the soaking also breaks down the phytic acid that is contained in them - once this is broken down it aids the body in absorbing essential nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc.
A staple on nearly every Pro Team’s breakfast buffet riders will often have 2 or 3 helpings of oats followed up by some protein like scrambled eggs to keep them going on race days - you might not need as much as that but on a big day out that's an ideal way to fuel up. If it's good enough for the top riders it’s good enough for us mere mortals.
So how do you do it? Well it couldn't be simpler really. All you need is a Kilner type jar with a lid or if you don’t have one of those a plastic tub will do fine - the oats need to be sealed overnight. The oats go in first and then add water (if you like things really plain), milk (either dairy or plant based) or even whichever fruit juice you like - apple juice works really well. Add a generous dollop of natural yoghurt and give it a mix if you’d like the oats to have a creamier texture.
Once the basic part is done you can mix it up and add whatever combination of fruit, nuts and other toppings you like - the combinations are pretty much endless. Here are a few recipes that I use to get you going - feel free to swap out any ingredients for what you have or what dried / fresh ingredients you have at home.
I like to keep some jars full of nuts, seeds and dried fruit on hand so I can mix it up. I prep one of these before I go to bed and then depending on what sort of ride I’m planning the next day I’ll have them before the ride if it's over 2 hours or after if its shorter - I usually do short sessions fasted with just a quick coffee, then I'm out the door. If you’re planning on having your oats post workout you can always add a scoop of your favorite protein powder in the mix to boost the recovery benefits.
Add your oats to the jar and add your milk until it just covers the top layer of oats. Add the tablespoon of yogurt and give it a mix. Then just layer up your other ingredients - I usually go with the fruit first, top with the nuts then drizzle with a little honey on top.
Then just seal the lid and pop in the fridge - by the morning the oats will have soaked up the milk and softened up and a healthy nutritional breakfast is ready to go. Blueberries are very nutrient-dense and are one of the best antioxidants out there - an essential fridge item!
Spirulina is touted as a ‘superfood’ and gram for gram one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet containing amino acids, minerals and quality protein. It is also an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory - a perfect addition to your oats before or after a ride. With the addition of other nutrient-rich foods like kiwi fruit, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and blueberries this is one healthy breakfast pot absolutely packed with goodness.
Add your oats to the jar and add your milk until it just overs the top layer of oats. Add the tablespoon of yogurt with the teaspoon of spirulina powder and give it a mix. Add the slices of kiwi fruit and sprinkle the chia seeds and pumpkin seeds over the top and leave in the fridge overnight with the lid sealed.In the morning you’ll have a superfood delight!
Chocolate with banana - this one is almost bordering on dessert levels of taste! It really feels like you’re eating something you shouldn't but this pot is not only really delicious but also packed with nutrients.
A great one if you’re a chocolate lover and have a bit of a sweet tooth. Cocoa is full of antioxidants and flavanols - in fact one of the foods with most Oxygen Radical Absorbant Capacity (ORAC) for various fruits and vegetables. What that means in simple terms is that good quality chocolate (those with over 70% cocoa solids) can be good for you. Combined with the other toppings here banana, coconut, raisins and nuts and you’ve got a well rounded breakfast to kick start your day.
Add your oats to the jar and add your milk until it just overs the top layer of oats. Add the teaspoon of cocoa and vanilla extract and give it a good mix. Add the slices of banana and sprinkle the raisins, coconut flakes and nuts over the top and leave in the fridge overnight with the lid sealed.