Cream Of Wheat and other oat alternatives

After listening to the discussion in Podcast 204 about pre-race snacks, I think I might be with @Jonathan when he says that he needs to avoid fibre before a race. My go-to riding breakfast is oatmeal/porridge with sultanas, a little nut butter, and honey, which is perfect for a long ride or sub-threshold workout - but on high intensity or race days I do get some gut discomfort and issues, particularly after I get off the bike.

The trouble is, Jonathan’s favourite - Cream Of Wheat - isn’t really available in the UK, except for an extortionate price on Amazon.

Any other recommendations for a quick, low-fibre, filling, high carb race-day breakfast?

  • semolina?
  • cornmeal / polenta???
  • cream of rice?
  • Special K / Cornflakes / about half a bucketful of rice krispies with non-dairy milk?

Or is there a danger that these will create an insulin spike and I should stick to the slow, steady release of oats?

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I sometimes eat polenta cooked up with some almond milk and cinnamon if I do not feel like oatmeal.
In the past when I was on a really tight budged I would eat a lot of Congee(rice soup) but in all honesty that just takes a little to long to prepare.


+1 for polenta, although I use oat milk! Dried apricots, some cinnamon and a smashed up dark chocolate square. I’m certainly no nutritionist, but I don’t think the polenta and oat milk are particularly spiky in their glucose delivery. They don’t seem so to me anyway.

I’ve used Quaker brand ‘Instant Grits’ for carb loading and found them easy to digest. Not tried for breakfast though. has them - look out for the multipacks of 28g (1oz) sachets. As you say, pretty much the same thing as polenta, but pre-portioned.

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Overnight oats have been my go-to now for a while.
Yogurt, Oats, Chia Seeds, Protein Powder, Almond Milk. Can add berries or honey for flavor if you want as well.

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Sounds nice! I usually put some dried fruit in with whatever I’m having. What’s your method? I assume it’s the instant sort, can you do it in the microwave?

I think that’s still oats isn’t it?

Yep. But lower fiber vs oatmeal.

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Microwave or stove? I love the convenience of oats in the microwave.

Usually stove but if you microwave the milk and mix in the polenta it should work just fine

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50g instant polenta
250g Oatly oat milk drink
30g sultanas or mixed dried fruit

Mix and leave overnight, then bubble up in a pan the next morning (I’ve not got a microwave). The fruit left overnight sweetens it through a bit. Basic recipe 380kcal; 77g carbohydrate; 4g fat; 7g protein. For a treat I add dark chocolate and spices. No I haven’t instagrammed it - I normally just eat it :slight_smile:

Oatly comes in a chocolate flavour, too! Even easier chocolate flavour!!

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Great. I’ll play around with proportions and microwave timings for a few mornings so I’ve got my method down for race day.

+1 for adding dark chocolate. My only worry is that I’d just end up eating too much of the stuff as an opened packet never stays in the cupboard for long…

pretty sure that baby porridge in the UK is wheat semolina. It’s REALLY easy to make and super-easy to digest.

I would highly recommend buying The Cycling Chef. It has a number of breakfast recipes, one of my favourites it rice flake porridge.

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Just looked that up and sounds like a good option. Easy to make and looks like you can get it from the gluten-free aisle in Sainsbury’s…

Typically overnight oats much like @RONDAL mentions above. Lately, I’ve been doing overnight meusli in almond milk.

In a pinch, plain instant oats in hot water.

Which is delicious and what I’m doing now, but doesn’t really count as an “oat alternative” as per thread title…

Aren’t there oats in Meusli ?? They look like oats :thinking:

Oh, I might see the confusion now.

I meant “oat alternatives” as in “alternatives TO oats”…

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One serving of Cream of Rice, one serving of whey vanilla protein powder (16 grams of protein) and two TBSP of maple syrup. I used to eat cold oats before a ride and never felt great. After switching to rice, I never have discomfort. This recipe works for recovery rides, tempo rides and intervals - anything under 40 miles. I jump to two servings of Cream of Rice for 50+ miles. I will admit it’s hard to eat that much (two services of rice), but I choke it down. 100% worth it when I feel great at the end of a hard group ride.