Sensible Training Food
After yesterday’s breakfast disaster, you could be forgiven for thinking that I’m a complete Muppet when it comes to food. But hey, as the saying goes, “the man who never made a mistake never did / learned / achieved anything”.
So here are a few sensible things you can do with porridge (all together now, “Skuurde huuurrde furrrd, boik, boik, boik.”):
- Porridge is made from oats. Dr Johnson’s dictionary (1755) defined oats as, “A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland appears to support the people“. Things have moved on since then (some of my best friends are Scottish). We now know that oats are a moderate to high glycemic index (GI) fuel, meaning that by themselves they’d give you a fast carbo-pickup, followed by a big insulin come-down. But of thankfully, you don’t eat oats by themselves:
- Porridge is a doddle to cook. Measure out equal volumes of oats, milk and water into a bowl. Bung it in the microwave on full power for two minutes-ish (keep an eye on it & adjust time depending on the size of your measures and microwave power), until it starts to boil and rise. Give it a stir, and then another minute or so on about 75% power. That’s it - a hot breakfast in three minutes. And the fat in the milk lowers the GI of the oats - if you’re setting up for a long training session (or it’s a long time ’till lunch), make the mix 1 x oats : 2 x full fat milk.
- By itself it’s still pretty bland. So mix it up a bit. A whole banana chopped into the bowl is good (we all love bananas, don’t we). Adding a generous tea spoon of crunchy peanut butter makes it even better - peanuts have a very low GI, so that’s an even better slow burn keep-you-going-all-day fuel. Or you can get the same effect by adding a handfull of mixed nuts & dried fruit instead. And on a rest day, or when you just need a treat . . . a couple of chunks of white chocolate are about as good as it gets!
- Finally . . . and I’ve never done this before, but I have heard that if you keep the porridge simmering for a little longer when you cook it (with minimal milk), you can then spoon it into a mould - like a small tupperware box - and it’ll set into something like a chewy jelly bar. This will be high GI, and a really good after race munch, or potentially as bonk-recovery fuel mid-race. If you cooked with milk, and added some finely chopped dried apricots before it all cooled, you’ll have made yourself a mid-race top up snack.
One final, final thing . . . buying oats for porridge. There’s a huge range in price, from a supermarket’s own brand value range, up to exotic organic fair trade versions. Check the nutritional information on the back of the packs - THEY’RE ALL BLOODY THE SAME. So unless you have ethical reasons for organic / grown by the crofters of Craggy Island / packaged in brown paper rather than plastic, go with the lowest price. I get 1kg for 44 pence, and it lasts more than a month.
So as Mrs Doyle herself would say, “go on, go on, go on, go on” . . . you know you want to.