Advantages Healthy; Good value
Disadvantages Too lumpy; Bitter taste
|Value for Money|
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so not being able to face any food until dinner time probably hasn’t done me any favours over the years. With a diet sheet to follow while suffering from a stomach ulcer, a radical change of eating habits has had to be made on many levels, one of which was finding something that would slip down easily first thing in the morning.With porridge standing out as the most obvious choice, I decided to turn to an old childhood favourite and for several weeks really enjoyed the smooth, creamy texture of Ready Brek. However when I next went shopping, I discovered that Quaker Oats was 75p cheaper for the 250g more in its 1kg box. Ever the economiser, I decided to switch to this instead. After all, porridge is porridge, surely. Wrong!
The first thing that is noticeable is the difference in appearance between the two products, Quaker Oats’ larger flakes contrasting markedly with the fine, powdery grains of Ready Brek, which is more intensively milled and also contains 39% oat flour. Quaker Oats is 100% rolled oats, nothing else. This ought to have given me a clue that they would mix up differently.The consistency of porridge is a matter of personal taste and usually down to how you choose to prepare it. Some like it thick and lumpy, others smooth and creamy. However it should be possible to make a porridge to your own specifications between these boundaries. Not with Quaker Oats!
The packet’s instructions aren’t as helpful as they could be, the recommended quantities measured either in grams or cups. If you haven’t got any kitchen scales and have cups of varying sizes, this leaves a lot of guess work. The five heaped dessert spoons suggested by Ready Brek is a much clearer instruction.Quaker Oats recommend that for one serving you use 40g or ¾ of a cup of oats mixed with either 300ml of water or milk. Cooking time is either 3½ minutes in a 800 watt microwave or 5 minutes simmering on the hob after being brought to the boil.
Following these instructions, you could stand a spoon up in the first few servings I made, the porridge was so stodgy and lacking in moisture. It also has a more bitter taste than Ready Brek, which is difficult to explain as neither have added sugar.While it is possible to achieve a thinner consistency, it is impossible to rid yourself of all the lumps, as these are the huskier flakes that don’t dissolve. Therefore if you are like me and have a keen gag reflex, eating Quaker Oats will not be a pleasant experience. I have never liked rice pudding for the same reason.
Health professionals argue that thicker porridge is better for you as it takes longer to digest, meaning the carbohydrates release more gradually, which is a more beneficial process for the heart. It also fills you up for longer. This probably means that Quaker Oats is a little more healthy for you, but we’re hardly comparing good and bad in that respect here. The level of soluble fibre in the form of Beta-Glucan that is present in all oat products, not only lowers your cholesterol, but also boosts the immune system.As something to slip down easily first thing in the morning, Quaker Oats doesn’t fit the bill at all. Nor does it taste as pleasant as Ready Brek without adding sugar.
Those who like their porridge made the traditional way may think differently, however I would rather spend 75p more for a smaller 750g box of Ready Brek.
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