Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The Chia Co Oats & Chia Porridge Review

As anyone who shops for breakfast cereals will have noticed, the variety of porridge oats available is enormous. It's crazy. I don't even bother looking at the vast array of instant pots and packets any more, it's too overwhelming. Instead I just head for the large packs of plain oats. They're a whole lot cheaper and I can add my own choice of extras if I choose.

However, this new arrival from The Chia Co. did happen to stand out. Oats + Chia is available in two varieties: Banana & Mango and Mixed Berry.

Chia seeds are one of those ingredients which have become incredibly popular among health conscious consumers. They're also classed as a 'superfood' by many 'experts'. Benefits of chia include its high protein and omega 3 content, plus they're rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium. They're also high in fibre which is great for filling up on. Putting them together with oats should make a truly filling and satisfying breakfast.
The Chia Co Oats + Chia Mixed Berry
The Chia Co. Oats + Chia Mixed Berry
Here's what the information on the box says:

‘Wholesome & delicious, lightly sweetened. Whole grain oats and chia blended with the finest quality fruits and virgin coconut oil for a smooth and creamy texture, without dairy. An excellent source of fibre, Oats + Chia contains both insoluble fibre, while keeps you full and promotes regularity, and soluble fibre, which naturally helps lower cholesterol reabsorption.’

Examining the ingredients more thoroughly after I got home, I noted these oats do have added sugar, albeit coconut sugar. It's still sugar though. More sweetness is provided by the dried mango and banana, which means overall this porridge is a high sugar food.
The Chia Co Oats + Chia Mango & Banana

To make the oatmeal, just empty the sachet into a bowl or mug and add half a cup of boiling water, stir, then wait for one minute. Or to cook in the microwave, add half a cup of cold water and microwave on high for one minute.

The Chia Co Oats + Chia Banana & Mango
The Chia Co Oats + Chia Banana & Mango
I used the packet as a measuring cup (which was suggested on the pack) and cooked as instructed. I only added water. After a minute I gave it a stir. It’s incredibly thick so I had to add more water to obtain a creamier consistency.

I was bemused by its brownish colour until I realised it must be coming from the dehydrated banana. Although I don’t usually like dried fruit, I enjoyed it in this bowl of porridge. The chia seeds provide a crunchiness to each mouthful and it’s more than sweet enough to not need to add more sweetness (and I have a very sweet tooth). I couldn't really taste the mango, but there were plenty of bits of dried mango in there.
The Chia Co Oats + Chia Banana & Mango
The Chia Co Oats + Chia Banana & Mango

I didn't think I'd like this porridge as I usually prefer it plain, with maybe some sunflower and pumpkin seeds. But I found this very filling and it tasted OK without milk. I did add some coconut milk after to give a bit of extra creaminess and it was even better.

Although Chia are promoted as a superfood, the useful nutrients they contain may not be as available to us as we might hope. One of the main reasons for this is that chia seeds are high in phytates. These bind to useful nutrients, making them unavailable for absorption. See article.
The Chia Co Oats + Chia Banana & Mango
Banana & Mango Oats + Chia - made with water
Oats + Chia is also high in saturated fat, but this comes from the omega 3 alpha linoleic acid (ALA) found in the chia seeds.

At the time of writing, The Chia Co. Oats + Chia cost an eye wateringly expensive £4.50 for a box of 5 sachets, or 90p a serving. This was in a branch of Sainsbury’s.

Nutrition information per 45g serving made with water (Banana & Mango): 187 calories, 6.9g fat, 3.0g saturates, 22.6g carbohydrates, 9.9g sugars, 5.1g protein, 0.1g salt, 1.0g Omega 3 ALA.

Ingredients (Banana & Mango): Whole grain oats (55%), Chia seed (12%), coconut sugar, dried mango (8%), dried banana (7%), virgin coconut oil.



Nutrition information per 45g serving made with water (Mixed Berry): 187 calories, 6.9g fat, 3.0g saturates, 27.1g carbohydrates, 8.3g sugars, 4.6g protein, 0.0g salt, 0.9g Omega 3 ALA.

Ingredients (Mixed Berry): Whole grain oats (62%), coconut sugar, Chia seed (10%),  dried mixed berries (9%) (Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries), virgin coconut oil.








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