Everyone has a personal favourite breakfast before a long training ride. Sports nutrition experts, however, are unanimously enthusiastic about how to prepare for tough days in the saddle: oats are the bee’s knees. The nutritional value of oats is very high, while preparation is easy and fast. You can even add a number of extra ingredients to jazz it up, if you want.

There are two varieties of oats readily available in the supermarket: rolled oats and instant oats. Either version, often made into porridge using either water or milk, is a healthy option. Oats contain important nutrients such as vitamin B1, zinc, and magnesium. Not only that, they are low in fat, low in sugar, and rich in complex carbohydrates. Their high fibre content promotes healthy digestion, while the starch slowly releases energy into your system. These characteristics make oats an ideal source for the sustained power needed on a long training ride, or race.

Oats also curb hunger throughout the morning. They have a low glycemic index, which means that the carbohydrate they contain is released slowly into the blood. Because this takes place slowly, you are much less likely to experience spiking blood sugar levels—which in turn will stop you craving more food.

Oats are low in calories, and so they form the perfect basis for breakfast. Super-tasty they certainly ain’t, so it’s up to your creativity to give them a flavour boost. Below are five oatmeal combinations that work really well:

The crunchy option: add unsalted cashew nuts, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, dried raisins, and cranberries to your porridge for extra bite and chew.

If you want to get exotic, you can add coconut flakes. For a totally tropical treat, pour some coconut milk into the mix.

The most simple embellishments for your porridge are agave syrup, honey, or golden syrup (if you can find it). Quick, and ideal if you have to get straight out on the road.

If you’ve got more time, try fresh strawberries, fresh mint, lemon juice, and a touch of lemon zest on your porridge. This is a super-fresh way to start your day.

This is a classic: porridge with apple, cinnamon, and raisins. Not only is this super-tasty, it’s also super economical.

Nutritional Value

These are the most important nutrients found in raw oats (per 100 grams):

*Energy (kcal): 380

*Fat: 6.9 grams

*Of which unsaturated: 4.72 grams

*Carbohydrate: 66.3 grams

*Protein: 16.9 grams

*Fibre: 10.6 grams