02/10/2013 07:52 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

The Porridge Test - Homemade or Readymade?

Anyone reading yesterday would have got lots of stories and tips on porridge. It is porridge season after all. In line with some other blog posts that I have been doing, I decided to check out some of the store bought 'quick' versions and see how the cost, nutritional value and convenience stacks up against the homemade variety.

Quaker Oat So Simple Golden Syrup Porridge Pot

Price per 57G Serving: £0.99 for one pot (57g)

Time to Prep: 2 minutes (add water in the provided plastic pot)

Ingredients: Quaker Rolled Oats (61%), Skimmed Milk Powder, Sugar, Salt, Natural Flavouring

Nutritional Information (57G):

Energy - 895 kj, 212 kcal

Fat - 2.8 g

Carbohydrate - 37.2 g

Fibre - 3.8 g

Protein - 7.6 g

Salt - 0.33 g

Weetabix Ready Brek Chocolate

Price per 57G Serving: £0.25

Time to Prep: 2 minutes (microwave)

Ingredients: Wholegrain Rolled Oats (43%), Wholegrain Oat Flour (27%), Sugar, Chocolate (5%) (Cocoa Mass, Sugar, Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin, Flavouring), Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder, Milk Whey Powder, Calcium, Niacin, Iron, Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin B6, Thiamin (B1), Folic Acid, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12

Nutritional Information (57G):

Energy - 914 kj, 216 kcal

Fat - 4.6 g

Carbohydrate - 36.3 g

Fibre - 3.9 g

Protein - 5.7 g

Salt - Trace

Flahavan's Irish Organic Porridge Oats

Price per 57G serving: £0.13

Time to Prep: 3 minutes (microwave); 4 minutes (hob)

Ingredients: 100% Organic Wholegrain Oats

Nutritional Information (per 57G serving):

Energy - 899 kj, 213 kcal

Fat - 3.1 g

Carbohydrate - 38.19

Fibre - 3.6 g

Protein - 6.27 g

Salt - Trace

The calorie levels seem similar across the three offerings, but Ready Brek has a much higher fat content and the Oats So Simple has a higher salt content (never mind the price tag of almost 8 times the price of Flahavan's). In fact the nutritional value is generally quite similar across all types of oats.

Please note that the price and nutritional information does not include milk or additional flavourings and hence to get the perfect bowl of the Flahavans version, it may be necessary to factor in some milk.

However, the major difference is that Flahavan's uses one ingredient - wholegrain oats. These will keep you fuller for longer - all the way to lunch. The quick to make versions generally use rolled and ground oats which aren't quite as nutritious and won't keep you filled as long. And at only one minute more to prep, I will always go for this.

Porridge Toppings

It also means you can add your own tasty porridge toppings. Don't reach for the bowl of sugar. Here are some tasty toppings to keep the oaty goodness with you all winter long:

- Green apple, cinnamon and honey (cook the apple at the same time as the porridge oats, then stir the cinnamon and honey through)

- Natural yoghurt and blueberries (pop the blueberries in at the same as the porridge oats, then stir the yoghurt through)

- Nuts - toasted, shredded, crumbled etc.

- Lemon curd (stirred through)

- Shredded coconut or coconut chips

- Roasted fruit (Peach, Pear, Apple)

- Get yours singing Caribbean flavours with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and almond essence

- Golden syrup and flax seeds

Any other tasty toppings that you use? Lots more ideas at Sian's Plan.