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Overnight Oats and Porridge – what’s the difference?

February 9, 2021
  • Breakfast
  • Nutrition
Overnight Oats and Porridge – what’s the difference?

Porridge and Overnight Oats are actually the same thing, right? – In a way they are and in a way they aren’t. In any case, both are popular breakfast dishes that not only taste delicious, but are also healthy.

Both porridge and overnight oats consist of the basic ingredients oat flakes and water or milk, but differ in their preparation. Overnight oats are also enjoyed cold, unlike warm porridge. Find out what else you need to know about this trendy breakfast here:

What is porridge and where does it come from?

Porridge is basically nothing more than warm oatmeal, which is mainly eaten for breakfast. In the meantime, porridge has become a real food trend.

But that was not always the case: cereal porridge is probably one of the oldest meals since humans were able to make their own fire. Around 15,000 years ago, many nomads settled down and started farming. Incidentally, historians assume that oats originally came from the Near East.

Hafer für Porridge und Overnight Oats
Oats were first cultivated in the Near East

The oldest finds in Europe are probably from the 5th millennium BC: both in the northern Black Sea region and in Poland, oats were probably already native at that time. In Central Europe, it was the pile-dwellers of the Late Bronze Age who cultivated oats north of the Main River. For the ancient Greeks and Romans, however, oats were frowned upon as a weed.

Nordic peoples were very fond of the plant: porridge was a staple food for the Scots, Vikings and Germanic peoples centuries ago. Especially among the working classes in the north of England, porridge was on the menu several times a week.

Oat flakes cooked in water or other liquids are still a national dish in Scotland and cannot be missed at breakfast. The porridge has a real cult following here: since 1994, the “World Porridge Making Championship” has even held its own championship for the best preparation.

How to prepare the porridge correctly

For classic cooked porridge you only need two ingredients: Oatmeal and a liquid of your choice. For a filling breakfast for one person, 50 grams of oatmeal and about 250 millilitres of liquid are sufficient. If you are strictly watching your calorie intake, water is a good choice. The dish will be creamier if you use milk.

Are you vegan? No problem, because a hot breakfast is also excellent with vegetable drinks. Almond, cashew or hazelnut drink makes the dish taste like nuts. Naturally, oat drink also goes well with the Scottish national dish. Coconut milk adds exotic flair, although it is relatively high in energy due to its high fat Content.

Regardless of which liquid you choose, the steps are the same: boil the flakes in milk or water for two to three minutes. It is important to stir vigorously so that the food does not burn.

If you like your breakfast with a bit of bite, large flaked oats are ideal. They remain crunchy after cooking. Fine oat flakes, on the other hand, become really creamy. Finally, garnish your porridge with berries, fresh fruit, nuts, hazelnuts, spices or other toppings of your choice.

Porridge richtig zubereiten
Porridge is creamiest with milk or plant-based drinks

What are Overnight Oats?

No time for a healthy breakfast? This excuse doesn’t apply once you’ve experienced Overnight Oats. It is not known exactly when this new trend was invented. Perhaps the dish came about by chance because someone wanted to make porridge and forgot to turn on the cooker?

The realisation was probably that oat flakes also swell up in cold liquid. However, they take longer to swell than when cooked. The name Overnight Oats means oatmeal soaked overnight. Simply prepare them in the evening, put them in the fridge and enjoy them fresh the next morning.

Overnight Oats – the preparation

Just like warm oatmeal, you only need oatmeal and liquid for overnight oats. Since plant-based drinks, water or milk don’t boil away in this method, you need less of it. For 40 grams of oatmeal, you need about 120 millilitres of liquid if you want to prepare breakfast for one person.

Put the ingredients in a bowl, mix briefly and leave to soak in the fridge. Soaked overnight, the oatmeal is transformed into a healthy morning meal without any additional effort. Then refine the porridge with a spoonful of yoghurt, fruit or nuts, depending on your personal preference.

Gesundes Frühstück über Nacht: Overnight Oats
Let Overnight Oats soak overnight and enjoy in the morning

Overnight oats were discredited for a long time because of their high calorie content. Unsaturated fatty acids, as found in nuts, are known to protect the heart and blood vessels. Enjoyed in moderation, they make your breakfast even healthier. Those with a sweet tooth serve Overnight Oats after a night in the fridge with cinnamon, chopped bananas and chocolate sprinkles.

Are porridge and overnight oats healthy for breakfast?

Oat flakes soaked in cold or hot liquid not only tastes delicious, it also provides many healthy ingredients. One of the reasons why nutrition experts recommend them for dieters is their high fibre content. They are rich in indigestible plant substances that swell up to 100 times their weight in the intestine and ensure a long feeling of satiety.

They also regulate digestion and serve as food for the good bacteria in your intestinal flora. Why more and more athletes eat oatmeal for breakfast is due to its high magnesium content: this mineral prevents muscle soreness and ensures better muscle growth. Oatmeal is also an ideal source of plant-based iron.

As vitamin C promotes absorption, your porridge is best enjoyed with fresh fruit. The beta-glucan contained in oat flakes also lowers blood sugar levels and makes oats an absolute superfood. Eaten regularly, oatmeal also has a beneficial effect on the appearance of the skin: Zinc and biotin are responsible for this.

Beta Glucan verival
Oat flakes contain beta-glucans, which lower blood sugar levels

Oat flakes

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