Healthy Hacks: Zoats (and other hidden vegetables)

With recent recommendations increasing our ideal daily vegetable intake from three to as much as seven portions. This can seem like a fairly steep task, but boosting your abundance of daily veggies really is doable. In The Microbiome Solution, Dr. Chutkan recommends the 1-2-3 rule: one portion of vegetables at breakfast, two at lunch and three for dinner. Between-meal snacks can also help to fill in any missed portions, or further increase your intake of vegetables to the desired seven portions and beyond. Whilst the most obvious ways of eating vegetables in the AM are savoury dishes and smoothies, something more sweet or comforting can be more desirable. My favourite health hack? Adding vegetables to porridge. If you’re familiar to busy breakfast bowls, or have tried my baked carrot cake porridge, this concept will probably be one you have come across before. If not; fear not! I promise your breakfasts won’t taste like you’ve tried to turn your porridge oats into a salad!

Cheap and easy ways to add vegetables to your diet, with a courgette porridge recipe. Via @eleanormayc

To get you started, here is my rough guide to making delicious courgette (zucchini) porridge, or “zoats”. My newest discovery is adding cacao powder or chocolate-flavoured coconut milk for a rich, creamy bowl of zoats. It brings the breakfast or post workout bowl into a complete other level of indulgence, without actually adding much naughtiness. How much liquid you need depends on the type of oats that you use -jumbo or steel cut oats absorb up to twice the amount of liquid (but really do taste better for it) whereas rolled oats require less.


  • 3 tbsp oats
  • Half a courgette, grated
  • 150-250ml nut milk or water (I use roughly half and half)
  • To sweeten: 1 banana, chopped or mashed; 1 scoop of vanilla protein; maple syrup
  • Optional: 1 tsbp cacao or cocoa powder
Cheap and easy ways to add vegetables to your diet, with a courgette porridge recipe. Via @eleanormayc]

Mix together the oats, courgette, banana and cacao powder (if using) together in a pan before adding the liquid and heating over a medium temperature. Cook until all the liquid is fully absorbed, adding more if needed. If you are using protein powder, remove the pan from the heat and stir in, adding extra milk if needed. Sweeten with maple syrup to taste, pour into a bowl and add your toppings. Flaked coconut, kiwi, berries, nut butter and squares of chocolate all taste fantastic.

Want more healthy hacks for supercharging your diet and lifestyle? Comment below if it has helped!