I always used to be a night owl, no questions. I think that decision was generally made for me – it wasn’t necessarily by choice. I used to be a real insomniac – at my peak while I was at uni I’d get by on about three or four hours of sleep. No wonder when they switched the lights out to watch a scene from a film (I did a filmmaking degree) I’d start to nod off! I couldn’t sleep at night so I’d get up and watch a film instead. My life was pretty much film-centric.
It could have been my age as well – as any other normal student we’d go out and stay up late a number of times a week. My stamina for getting by on just a few hours’ kip was much better back then than it is now. My hangover capabilities are much the same. Literally everything deteriorates with age.
I still prefer late nights to early mornings but my tired old body doesn’t necessarily agree! Even if I’m struggling to keep my eyes open, I can’t shake that same feeling I used to get when I was a kid that if I go to bed I’m somehow missing out on something. What that something is, I don’t know!
So I’m gradually getting more and more used to early mornings and earlier nights. Getting up for work at 6am definitely contributes to that and means lie ins at the weekend are in the distant past. But one positive point about being up early, even on a weekend – dare I say – is all the chores you can get going on and tick off the list. I’m not even being sarky here. Yes while I might prefer to still be in slumber, at least if I am awake I can get on with doing a load of washing, nipping into town, catching up with a friend for brunch or whatever activities lie ahead.
How you feel in the morning can definitely impact the day ahead. If I get up late and I’m rushing around trying to get ready for work, I feel a bit panicky and I’m convinced I’ve forgotten something. I hate being rushed – I like having a little bit of time spare to catch up on my emails or social media, or even to just listen to the radio while I’m slowly eating my breakfast rather than cramming a bit of cold toast into my mouth as I’m running out the door.
I prefer to allow the time to make and enjoy my breakfast and prepare a packed lunch for work. Through the winter I mostly eat porridge – it’s healthy, filling and yummy. I’ll either top it with some fruit or some seeds, it’s nice to have the extra texture.
This leads me nicely onto some breakfast recipes sent to me by Quaker Oats. This isn’t a sponsored post and they definitely haven’t paid me to do this – but there were some nice ideas in there so I thought I’d share them.
They did some research which found that workers only feel fully awake by 9.40am and productivity doesn’t kick in until 11.22am. I start work earlier than the average nine to fiver, but I understand what it’s like to rush to work and not feel fully awake yet. You’re sometimes on auto pilot and it can take a while to get going and switch on.
That’s an even better reason to try to make sure you have a decent breakfast in the morning – it’s not called the most important meal of the day for nothing!
Depending on the kind of morning person you are, there’s a breakfast idea to suit.
The Earlybird loves mornings – they are up and running the minute the alarm goes off
Breakfast idea: Nut and seed pimped oats
Photo: Quaker Oats
You can make this ready-to-use topping in advance if you prefer. It’ll keep for a week in an airtight container.
You’ll need 40g oats, 250ml milk or water, 50g sunflower seeds, 50g pumpkin seeds, 50g sesame seeds, 50g mixed nuts and 100g dried apricots.
To make it, pre-heat the oven to 200°C and spread the nuts and seeds in a single layer evenly on a baking sheet. Roast for around 10 mins, or until the mix is a golden brown. Allow to cool before transferring the mix to an airtight container. Thinly slice the apricots and add these to the container. Shake briefly and your mix is ready to use.
To make the porridge, bring 250ml milk or cold water to the boil and stir in the oats. Simmer for around two mins, remove from the heat and leave to cool for a few mins. Sprinkle your nut, seed and fruit mix on top of the oats and serve.
The Rise person takes a few minutes to think about the day first thing
Breakfast idea: Oat granola with a twist
Photo: Quaker Oats
You’ll need 40g Quaker Oats Granola, 200ml Greek yoghurt, 1 apple, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp liquid honey, maple syrup or agave syrup, pinch of cardamom, 2 tbsp oil or coconut oil.
To make it, spoon the yoghurt into a bowl and add the Quaker Oats Granola. Dice the apple and add it to the bowl. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and cardamom and drizzle honey or syrup on top for the finishing touch.
To make the indulgent version, instead of using raw apple, add the diced apple to a bowl and toss with the cinnamon and cardamom. Heat some oil or coconut oil in a small frying pan and add the apple. Pour the honey and syrup on top and stir well. Sauté for five minutes and add to the granola and oats.
The Lo-Fi finds it hard to get out of bed and is in a hurry every morning.
Breakfast idea: Crunchy overnight oats with dates and banana
Photo: Quaker Oats
As this is a recipe you can make the night before, it’s perfect for the Lo-Fi morning type.
You’ll need 40g oats, a splash of almond milk, three finely chopped dates, 1 tsp vanilla extract, a couple of pecans, 1/4 banana, 1/2 tsp chia seeds, 2 tbs Greek yoghurt.
To make it pour the oats into a glass and add a splash of almond milk (don’t completely cover the oats). Add the chopped dates and pour the vanilla extract over it. Refrigerate overnight until ready to serve. In the morning, add the pecans and banana, top with the Greek yoghurt and sprinkle on some chia seeds.
The Slumber wakes up tired and irritated nearly every day – the snooze button is their partner in crime.
Breakfast idea: Hearty oat breakfast biscuits
Photo: Quaker Oats
Make a batch of these over the weekend and you’ll have enough to get you through the working week.
You’ll need 60g wholewheat flour, 60g almond flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 80ml vegetable oil, 120g brown castor sugar, 1 large egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 60g oats, 60g dried cranberries, 60g chopped hazelnuts.
To make it, firstly pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Combine the flours and baking powder in one bowl. In a second bowl, combine the oil, sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Mix well and then add the flour mixture. Stir well then add the hazelnuts, cranberries and oats. Using your hands, make eight balls from the mixture then flatten to shape into biscuits. Pop on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake in the oven for 20 mins. Allow to cool and then store in an airtight container.
I’m definitely a Rise morning person. I do find it difficult to get out of bed, but I’m rarely in a rush because I allow myself adequate faffing time. Which one are you, and do you adapt your breakfast to suit your morning routine?