Huel vs Porridge

I was intrigued having written my last post how different my choice to adopt Huel has made my nutritional intake. If lunch via Huel was really not that different from Subway, what about a comparison to my usual breakfast?

Well, that usual breakfast had recently turned out to be Oatso simple porridge. This comes in two possibilities: in a sachet, where you add milk and microwave in a bowl, or in a pot, where you add hot water and stir.

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One of the things that impresses me about these products (besides their convenience) is the minimalism of the ingredients list. The sachet (on the left) lists the following:

Wholegrain Rolled Oats (76%), Sugar, Dried Apple Pieces (0.5%), Dried Blueberries (0.5%), Natural Flavourings, Salt, Sunflower Oil.

There’s really not much controversial in there at all, and it’s a similar story for the pot. This to me was the epitome of my ideal breakfast, because it was reasonably healthy, kept me pretty full, and was convenient. I usually reserved the sachets (which are cheaper) for the office where I’d make them in a big mug, while the pots were more useful away from the office (where I felt safe enough to have breakfast at a client).

So: head to head.

What am I having?

The porridge is pretty simple: I have it at work, preparing it usually around 9am and eating it immediately. When I prepare it with milk, I use skimmed milk (the pot contains dried milk so you just add water).

My equivalent Huel breakfast is 100g in 500ml of water, prepared around 9am and consumed over about 10 min or so. Recently I have started adding a shot or two of espresso.

How much does it cost?

The sachets cost £2.45 for 10 (25p each), while I only buy the pots on offer at 5 for £4 (80p each).

The Huel is 100g at £45 for 3.5kg, so £1.28 for the 100g meal.

Nutrition

So I vaguely know about the calories, because they’re pretty easy with the porridge – about 250 calories. The Huel, on the other hand, contains about 400 calories in 100g.

NutrientHuel 100gPorridge sachetPorridge cup
Calories400204214
Fat13.12.52.9
(Saturates)2.40.50.6
Carbohydrates37.434.237.2
(sugar)0.917.516.1
Protein29.79.98.1
Fibre72.83.1

So as you’d imagine the porridge sachet and cup don’t vary much. And, as I previously knew, the Huel was more calories. This seemed to come down to fat and protein with the carbs being very similar. This surprised me as I would have thought the fat would be pretty high in a milk based breakfast (especially the pot, which isn’t skimmed milk based).

As before, you’d imagine the micronutrients in Huel are much healthier.

The plus point for the Huel is the sugar content which is way lower than the (already okay) porridge. And in fibre the Huel was very good indeed. But the calories are stubbornly high, which means that you’d hope it affected the…

Satisfaction

The immediate satisfaction goes, as you’d expect, to the Porridge. It’s hot and warming, though it’s worth noting that it kind of depends how it comes out, which in turn depends on microwave time/water added. Sometimes it’s slightly unpleasant.

Longer term, both kind of fail to keep me full so that I don’t think about lunch, but then again not much does. I would honestly say that the porridge is probably slightly worse, i.e. I get hungrier earlier. And there is this weird thing where I feel that having had ‘only’ 200 or so calories means I can go larger on my lunch as a ‘reward’. This isn’t a plus for Huel so much as a minus for me.

Conclusion

Convenience and overall nutrition is edged by Huel, but again, this is a lot closer than I would have thought. I’m a bit surprised about the price, but I guess they have a lot better economies of scale over at Quaker oats. So if I continue to go with Huel for breakfast, I really ought to be sure I’m not eating too much overall.

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