Mar 25

Porridge Power!

The power of porridge!

Porridge - the dieter's friend

A bowl of porridge is great for your diet

Porridge is a valuable weapon in your weight loss battle. Porridge really helps you reduce your calorie intake.

What is porridge?

Porridge is a mixture of whole rolled oats and milk (or water) cooked together to make a hot thick cereal based meal. It has a thick consistency and can be sweetened and flavoured to taste. Sugar, brown sugar, golden syrup are just a few flavourings that are commonly added.

It is traditionally served at breakfast and originates in Scotland. The Scots often add a pinch of salt to bring out the flavour.

In the USA oatmeal and grits are served – they are not quite the same (oatmeal has had the bran removed from the oats) but they are still great for your diet. If you are reading this from the States then seek out some real porridge oats if you can – the texture and taste of real porridge is the best!

Pre-packaged porridge

Pre-packaged porridge – a convenience food becomes even more convenient

Why is porridge so great for your diet?

  • It takes just 30g of porridge oats to make a bowl of porridge.
  • You can make it with water, skimmed milk or a mixture of both – keeping the calories down.
  • A bowl of porridge, made 50/50 with skimmed milk and water, with a little sugar, contains 160 calories
  • Porridge is VERY filling
  • Porridge oats are a slow release carbohydrate, which means you’ll feel full for a long time after eating them
  • Porridge is a fibre-rich food that is really good for your heart and helps lower cholesterol.
  • Porridge is incredibly easy to make – you can even make it in the microwave in just 2 minutes.
  • Porridge is delicious!

Top Tips

1 Seek out ‘Oat-So-Simple’ or equivalent pre-packaged brands. These are great because your 30g portion is already measured, the sachet they come in doubles up as a milk/water measurer, the microwaving instructions are on the box, as are the calories per portion. Also they come in some great flavours – personally I love the Oat-So-Simple golden syrup flavour!

2 Try to avoid eating the oats raw. You can make a lovely muesli-style cereal by mixing the raw oats with milk – however when they are not cooked they are nowhere near as filling! Yet the calories are the same! So, in order to help your diet, make sure you cook them!

Be careful about your extras. Using whole milk, or adding whole milk (or cream) naturally defeats the object. So does adding big spoonfuls of sugar, honey, golden syrup etc. Go easy on the extras. Count your calories.

Porridge oats

Porridge oats – rolled whole oats

Bear in mind you can save money by buying your own oats and measuring out your own portions.  However, this starts to become a chore!

Porridge is a wonderful food, and is a true friend to your diet so be careful of anything that may discourage you from preparing it – like fiddling with kitchen scales and measuring jugs for example.

So, for my first ever post :), I offer you a valuable weapon for your weight loss battle – porridge!

By David Hart

Read my ground-breaking 10 step psychological weight loss plan

(c) Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

How do you like your porridge? Please comment below:


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  1. Alex

    In the US, ground up, white porridge flour is called Semolina Porridge, & can be found at Produce World. I’ve lost 100lbs in 10 months on a Semolina Porridge, with ground up buckwheat cooked in milk, same as porridge. Eat the two Kesha’s with peanuts for protein, it’s a wonder food. Secret wonder food.

  2. David

    Thanks Alex, that’s very kind. Go Porridge!

  3. Alex

    Hi David Hart,

    I just wanted to say that it’s great to see you responding to comments in such a thoughtful way even though the article is a few years old, but still relevant, I just had my first bowl of porridge in about 10 years!

    Thanks for the good work.

  4. David

    Hi Andy, sounds great. Don’t get bored of it though. Also, do some exercise. You can’t lose weight by restricting food alone – it is too hard, and you’ll lose muscle mass as well as fat. Good luck!

  5. Andy

    Hya, i am weighing in at 17st 0lbs, ‘ish (5’9″), so am very overweight. So i eat a bowl of Porridge in the morning, half a slim mug to a full mug of semi-skimmed milk with a handful of raisens for the sweetness. Cooked in a micowave for 3 minutes, stirred and left for 5 minutes to cool down and solidify.
    This meal will take me through to lunchtime at about 1.00pm. I buy the cheapest oats going from the supermarket, around £0.75p for a 1kg…bargain.
    I am looking at possibly eating two porridges meals a day to see if i can lose weight this way as the weather is so bad, you dont feel like doing any exercise.

  6. David

    Thanks CarolAnn, sounds great and very healthy.

    Hi Jim, 187 calories according to the Quaker Oats website. As calories go, not too shabby :)

  7. Jim

    Hi David. I boil around 50g of porridge oats in water with a little salt. I then eat the porridge without any extras – no milk, sugar, toppings etc. I just boil it up using water and then I eat it it.
    How many calories would be in a 50g serving made and eaten in this manner? I see calculations ranging from 70 calories to 200.
    Can you provide the correct answer?
    many thanks

  8. carolann

    I have been bought up on porridge. It’s best made with water and salt.

  9. David

    Tracey, sorry to hear about your hiatus hernia – that sounds very difficult. On that diet, it does sound odd that you’re not losing weight – however, are you able to exercise? Exercise is a meta-activity – not only does it keep you healthy and burn calories, but it raises the rate you burn calories (metabolic rate) and also creates a feeling of wellbeing that motivates dieting. As far as losing weight goes, exercise is greater than the sum of its parts!

    Peter – it depends on what else you’re eating and how much you’re exercising, but on the limited information you’ve given, I’d say yes!

    Thanks Demetree and Janine

  10. David

    Sounds delicious Maddie. I see your point about the individual sachets being more ground down. Technically speaking this may mean your body takes less energy to digest them – see my post on the thermic effect of food. However, that said, I think the convenience of these individual sachets is extremely important. They are pre-portioned and you can use the bag as a milk/water measuring device. When you’re dieting you need all the encouragement you can get, and anything that smooths the path toward eating less has to be welcomed.

  11. maddie

    one of the problems with things like quick oats, and some sachet oats is that they are ground down and refined, thus taking out the goodness, which is why rolled oats are better. At the begging of the week i weigh out my portions for each day and but them in little sandwich bags and add my extras to them so when im busy during my weekdays mornings all i have to do is plonk them in my saucepan whilst i make a cup of tea.

    My fave:

    semi-skimmed mlk
    4 chopped dried apricots
    1tspn of honey
    and small amount of sunflower seeds

  12. Peter

    Will eating two of those pre packaged sachets every day in milk help me gain weight?

  13. demetree ellison

    Thanks for sharing very useful.

  14. Janine Craig

    I like porridge, bannana’s half water,milk,raisins, sultanas,with a drizzle of honey

  15. Tracey

    I have an Hiatus hernia, and a valve which isnt working. The only food I can keep down is the plain packet porridge. I have it 3 times a day. I thought Id lose weight fast, but after losing 7.5 LBs, and then stayed the same weight which surprised me. My doctor doesnt seem concerned im only eating porridge. I will probably on this diet now til I have my operation.
    What would your advice be on this. Is this going to be healthy, as yet I havent got to the stage were im hungrey.

  16. David

    I love your story Sybil and find it very inspirational. I have to agree that it is really important to include exercise in your diet, and watch what you eat for the rest of the day! Thanks for sharing it

  17. Sybil

    Hello, after my first pregnancy my belly remained huge and it wasn’t just all in my mind.
    I began my diet which included a measured bowel of porridge made with just water. I would then wait a few hours and have a black coffee no sugar before running on the treadmill. I did this for about two months and lost about 20 pounds. Of course I also watched what else I ate through out the day, my diet consisting of mainly boiled fish, potatoes, lots of apples, water + few other healthy foods.

    Porridge is a secret food which will keep you fuller for longer, give you energy to work out and its cheap to buy. It beats any weight loss pills and after my second pregnancy lol I’m trying to lose a stone God willing.

    I’d highly recommend healthy porridge to anyone, yes it might sometimes get bit boring but no pain no gain :)

  18. David

    Another vote for own-brand oats! I am with you, although somehow I just can’t let go of the convenience of pre-packaged varieties. And, I just love the name ‘Oat-so-Simple’!

  19. kevin

    I love my oats I just buy super market own brands, put five spoons full in bowl of warm water and 3 nins in microwave no extras.

  20. Jane

    SCOTTS PORRIDGE OATS, nothing more,nothing less!
    Seriously,oats are oats, although the brand mentioned is as good a quality as you will find anywhere in the word. Porridge is a staple for people from Scotland,made simply with milk or water,with a little salt or sugar depending on preference. I am more adventurous adding all sorts of extras,such as banana,raisins,nuts etc. A brilliant way to start the day :)

  21. Sarah

    I like my oats mixed with yoghurt and chia seeds left god a few minutes the oats soften nicely and I find it very filling.

  22. David

    Good to know about Aldi. I’m still buying my Oat-so-Simple individual packets, but next time I’ll buy normal porridge oats in a big packet. If the mood takes me I may even buy more than one variety and taste-test them.

  23. Trisha

    I eat my porridge straight from packet with a little sugar and cold milk its lovely. Aldi is very reasonsble price.

  24. David

    Hi Saadia. I still get pleasantly surprised at the imaginative ways people eat their porridge – bravo!

  25. Saadia

    Hi, me and my husband have stared eating a bowl of porridge daily made with 1 cup plain rolled oats, 2 cups of water, a handful of currents, a hand ful of chopped walnuts or almonds and 2 tablespoons of ground golden flax seed, then add little low fat milk in the bowl. It’s so yummy and I have started to look forward to it every morning.

  26. David

    Hi Chuckk

    My mum’s Irish so I wonder if my ancestry is at work here too?!

    I think you’re setting your family up for a great start to the day with a porridge breakfast. Are you from the States? If so, I’d be very interested to hear how easy it is to get porridge as I think grits is more popular over there isn’t it? Thanks

  27. Chuckk

    Hi David,

    I eat porridge (as do the kids), most mornings and we love it. I do not add milk or salt when cooking, just one large cup of oats and two and a half cups water (1:2 makes it rather solid). It bring it to a boil and then down to the lowest heat setting, stirring to prevent burning. It takes about five-plus minutes. I never add milk, but I do use sugar or honey to sweeten. My mother is Irish and it’s what she ate as a child (it’s not just the Scots who eat it). I recommend plain old oats, not Oats So Simple or Oats So Easy and other odd brands, simply because plain old oats are just as simple to make and costs very little (39 cents per Kg).

  28. David

    Hi Jackie – agree. No brainer!

  29. jackie

    hi! I love porridge made with water and topped with Blueberries! lovely! and I’m loosing weight on it!
    A savoury version porridge with salt and Butter! delicious! try it and see for yourself!
    porridge in this cold snap we are in helps if you want to loose weight,be full,and feel
    warm! no brainer!!

  30. David

    Thanks John. A very good point that had never occured to me. Maybe that is why the Oat-so-Simple varieties need so little cooking.

    Even so, I would say they are still nutritionally good and very filling and so convenient – no saucepan to wash up, cook in 2 mins, pre-measured etc…

    In the perfect world I would have a plump Scottish granny who would lovingly prepare me real Scots porridge every morning!

  31. John G


    I would disagree about using the Oats so Simple varieties. These are processed oats and are not as good as the natural rough rolled ones. The processed oats do not fill you up as long as it is easier for your body to process them, rather than the natural ones which keep you feeling full longer because it takes your body longer to process them.

  32. jo 2

    hi everyone!
    I use Bokomo oats. Its yummy and I actually wake up craving it! I unfortunately add peanut butter and sugar, but not too much. I stay full even into the afternoon and sometimes wonder if I should eat lunch as I’m not hungry. It also gives me a lot of energy! Its quick and so easy to make! I normally just measure it myself; once you’ve done it once or twice you know exactly how much to use!

  33. David

    Hi Jo and Corinne, love the idea of adding fruit to porridge, and Corinne what a great idea to leave cold oats and milk overnight in the fridge. I bet it still isn’t as filling as hot porridge though! Jo, I am sold on the pre-packaged stuff and nothing will dissuade me!

  34. Jo

    Hi. I love my porridge every morning.Don’t waste my money on pre packed though. It’s just like sawdust.Nothing nicer than nice big chunky oats. I usually top mine with cinnamon and banana or pineapple. After a couple of days you will know the amount needed without having to measure. I use half a cup of oats to full cup water/skimmed milk and pop in microwave for 2min 20 sec. Perfect yummy nutritious filling porridge.

  35. Corinne

    Try preparing porridge with cold milk and placing in the fridge overnight then add fresh fruit – it is delicious and creamy – no need to add sugar or syrup

  36. David

    Thanks for your viewpoint Big Tam

  37. Big tam

    It is terrible to cook porridge with anything but water, adding only salt. Milk is added when in the bowl. To do anything else is an insult to our great hard working forebears who built the western world using the gruel as the foundation of their achievements.

    The muesil and honey and Cappuchino brigade will not sully the memory.

  38. David

    Hi Azam

    Great news! Glad porridge has worked so well for you, and good to hear from another Oat-so-Simple fan! Personally, I use 50% water and 50% skimmed milk, as water only isn’t so appetising for me. Best of luck with your continued weight loss, David

  39. Azam Ali

    I used to be 38 waist, and I started eating Oats so simple pre-packed ones, it helps me from eating too much and I have lost 2 inches in waist in 2months.

    I only put water in and leave it for 2min in microwave, it tastes great and feels i had put milk in it. Ok so its £3.65 for two boxes but where on earth will you get 16 healthy meals for this price?? (One visit to sushi bar is over £10!

    I also started walking about 3miles 5 times a week and play table tennis most evenings.

    I lost 4 inches last time working out in the gym daily 5 days and eating normally.

    I think eating oats taste nice in the morning and afternoon and i dont feel bloated.

    Its like perfect fuel for me to function and have energy all the time.

  40. David

    Thanks Alex

    Don’t forget the pre-packaged varieties have done all the work for you – measuring, calculating calories etc

    It just makes dieting a bit easier! Anyway, all credit to you for saving the money.

  41. alex

    I can’t see where packaged oats ie oatsosimple, redibrek,etc. are any easier than just plain supermarket value cheapest oats, everone has the tools needed to make porridge even in the office, the time is the same and no added bits you don’t need.
    Some people just love waisting money on packaged things

  42. greg campbell

    Hi guys i must say that being from Scotland i do not use them enough , just had a bowl in the office for breakfast . it was one of the sachets that they say u have to use semi milk to make , i must say i prefer to make with water and then when ready have some salt and a small jug of milk to pour on at intervals during eating , that has to be the best way to eat them

  43. Curious Chap

    great stuff mate

  44. Jamie

    I would personally avoid the flavored porridge sachets as they contain too much sugar – if your on a weight loss diet then avoiding sugar is right up there at the stop and the added sugar in the flavored versions wont help your cravings.

  45. David

    Hi Steve

    I’m not a cholesterol expert, but are you sure it is the ‘bad’ cholesterol that has increased? My understanding is that there are different types of cholesterol in your blood, and some are good for you like the types caused by exercise.

    If your ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) has increased it doesn’t sound like it has come from your diet. Porridge (with water or skimmed milk) certainly will be a reducing factor in your LDL cholesterol so don’t give it up!

    It could be a number of factors – perhaps some food groups have slipped through the net that you’ve overlooked? Maybe it was an anomoly with the blood test, or your cholesterol happened to be high at the moment the test was taken, or maybe you are genetically predisposed to high LDL cholesterol.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Keep on with the healthy diet, exercise regularly and if the bad cholesterol consistently remains high see your doctor. Good luck and thanks for contributing.

  46. Steve fisher

    Despite eating pre packaged simply oats every day mixed with water (no milk) –often twice a day for the last 4 months – - my cholestrol has gone up . My third meal was steamed veg with quorn sausages or similar and i dont snack inbetween. My coffees and teas are taken without sugar or milk so any idea what went wrong if porridge is so good for you????

  47. John

    Yes Porridge will assist you to your weightloss.

  48. David

    Thanks Caz – a very good point. It is true the pre-packaged porridge varieties are a lot more expensive, however for some people the convenience and ease of use may be worth paying for. Totally agree about making sure porridge is properly cooked – the texture changes completely and somehow it becomes so much more filling.

  49. Caz

    Agree, porridge is great but I don’t buy those pre-packed ones. Just stick to buying a large bag of porridge oats, its so much cheaper and after measuring out your required quantity daily you’ll soon be able to do it by eye alone. This will save you loads and loads of money as the pre-packed ones are very over-priced. Also don’t forget to cook your porridge for enough time to make it very smooth and with no raw bits in it. Its a great weight loss device.

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