Discover the best way to eat porridge that keeps your blood sugar and hormones balanced.
Why is balancing blood sugar important for hormone health?
Balancing your blood sugar is a key part of balancing your hormones. Having elevated glucose levels due to eating too much sugar, or eating carbohydrates on their own without protein, fat or fibre, can put us at greater risk of insulin resistance. And insulin resistance can have a huge impact on our hormone health. It can lead to PCOS, acne, heavy periods, and even fertility problems.
We always recommend clients start the day with high-protein breakfasts to keep their blood sugar, mood and energy balanced. Our most popular FUTURE WOMAN healthy hormone breakfast recipes include egg muffins, chia seed pudding, and our ultimate FUTURE WOMAN smoothie.
However, we know that as the winter months roll in, a warm bowl of porridge is extremely tempting! So we’ve prepared this recipe to satisfy your porridge cravings AND keep your blood sugar balanced.
WHY IS porridge bad for blood sugar levels?
Porridge can easily spike your blood sugar, especially first thing in the morning. In fact, according to continuous glucose monitor tracking company Levels, it’s one of the worst foods for spiking your blood sugar, along with foods like doughnuts, pizza and pancakes.
When you eat processed oats like instant oats or porridge oats, the carbohydrates in the oats are quickly converted to glucose and absorbed straight into your blood stream. This can lead to a spike in blood sugar. Rising glucose levels are almost always accompanied by a corresponding blood sugar drop, leaving you feeling lethargic, irritable and much more likely to have sugar cravings.
However, prepared in the correct way, porridge can tick all the boxes. So here is your FUTURE WOMAN guide to eating blood sugar balancing porridge.
7 TIPS to improve your porridge for blood sugar balance
- Use steel cut oats. Avoid porridge oats or instant oats. Instead opt for steel-cut oats which are minimally processed and still have their fibre-rich bran layer intact. Quinoa flakes can also be a good option due to the slightly higher protein content (if you are using quinoa flakes, see our cooking note at the bottom of this recipe).
- Portion size is key. The amount of porridge you eat has an impact on blood sugar levels. Opt for smaller portion sizes and focus on adding fat, fibre and protein for satiety.
- Be careful with sweeteners. Oats on their own are enough to spike your blood sugar, so adding honey, sugar or golden syrup will only make the spike even worse. We recommend sweetening your porridge with a small amount of low-sugar fruit such as ½ an apple, ½ a pear or a small handful of berries. Spices such as cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg are also a great option for adding additional flavour.
- Incorporate plenty of healthy fats. Fats are the building blocks for our hormones. We prefer to use full fat milk, home made nut milk, coconut milk, or even cream. Good supermarket options include Biona coconut milk and Plenish almond milk. Avoid low fat options like skimmed milk, as well as any heavily processed plant milks, particularly oat or rice milks, which can contain gums and highly-processed seed oils.
- Add protein. For a protein boost, add nut butter or a scoop of vanilla protein powder (with no added sugars). If you like your porridge savoury, you can also stir an egg into your porridge as you start cooking.
- Add fibre. Adding soaked flax seeds and chia seeds to your porridge is a great way to reduce the blood sugar spike and improve satiety, as they are both high in fibre. Furthermore, flaxseeds have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and improve oestrogen detoxification.
- Pay attention to how you feel after eating porridge. Your glycemic response is highly individual. So pay attention to how you feel after eating porridge. If you immediately feel yourself reaching for something sugary, then higher protein breakfasts like eggs, smoked salmon or breakfast sausages might be a better option for you.
Blood sugar balancing porridge recipe
- 1/4 cup of steel cut oats
- 1/2 cup of your choice of full fat milk (see note above)
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 an apple, grated
- 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp of ground ginger (or grated fresh ginger)
- 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
- 1 tbsp of flaxseeds soaked in 2 tbsp of water
- 1 tbsp of chia seeds soaked in 2 tbsp of water
- Toppings: 1 tbsp of nut butter, cacao nibs
Soak your chia seeds and flaxseeds as you prepare your porridge.
Add your milk and water to a saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Once boiled, add your oats and salt to the pan, lower the heat and then simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid the porridge sticking to the bottom of the pan. If the porridge starts to stick, then add in a little more water.
Add in the spices and grated apple. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Take your porridge off the heat, stir in the chia seeds and flaxseeds and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
Top with nut butter and cacao nibs and enjoy.
A NOTE ON BATCH COOKING
For quick breakfasts during the week, you can quadruple this recipe for blood sugar balancing porridge and leave the remainder in an airtight container in the fridge. Simply add a splash of water to reheat.
How to adjust your BLOOD SUGAR BALANCING PORRIDGE for quinoa flakes
To make this recipe using quinoa flakes instead of steel cut oats, you will need less liquid and less cooking time. Use just half a cup of milk (you won’t need the water) and reduce the initial cooking time to 5 minutes.