By Magic Breakfast's Nutrition Team 

Oats are considered to be one of the healthiest breakfast foods for children. They provide a nutrient packed start to the day, full of vitamins and minerals that can support a child’s growth and development.

Porridge is made from oats that are high in complex carbohydrates and soluble fibre, meaning they release energy slowly. A bowl of porridge should provide all the energy a child needs until lunchtime. The slow releasing complex carbohydrates in oats sustain energy levels, allowing full concentration to be maintained. Complex carbohydrates can also help to stabilise a child’s blood sugar levels - and oats provide protein at 4.5g per serving.

Did you know: Porridge is great source of

·       Calcium - for strong bones and teeth

·       Potassium - for a healthy heart

·       Vitamin A - for good vision

·       Niacin - for healthy digestion

Porridge oats are a great alternative to popular high-sugar cereal options for children, as a 40g serving contains 142 calories, so if you add 300ml of semi-skimmed milk it makes a 283 (low) calorie breakfast.

Unfortunately many children are not getting enough fibre in their diet. Fibre is important in preventing constipation and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Porridge oats also contain the soluble fibre beta-glucan which, if consumed regularly as part of a healthy diet low in saturated fat, can help reduce and maintain a healthy cholesterol level. An optimal intake of 3g of oat beta-glucan per day is recommend to gain this benefit. A 40g serving of porridge provides 3.6g of fibre and 1.4g of beta-glucan. 

Top tips:

1.     Original is always the best - avoid buying ready flavoured porridge products – they can be high in added sugar – typical original flavoured porridge will have 1g of sugar per 100g whereas a chocolate flavoured porridge will have 22g of sugar per 100g.

2.     Give your porridge oats a double boost by adding fresh, tinned or dried fruit such as raisins, banana or apples and a touch of cinnamon – this adds vitamins and minerals and provides some natural sweetness. 

3.     Many breakfast cereals now contain oats or oat bran in the required amount of at least 0.75g of beta-glucan per serving – there will normally be a health claim on the box advertising this.

We practice what we preach

Porridge oats are offered to all our partner schools, generously donated by Quaker Oats. In the academic year 2015/16 over 105,200 bowls of healthy porridge were eaten by children as part of their Magic Breakfast.