The food that is causing a stir among Norwich City’s promotion chasers

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    The food that is causing a stir among Norwich City’s promotion chasers

    The food that is causing a stir among Norwich City’s promotion chasers

    Once upon a time, it was regarded by many people as an unappealing, glutinous mess in a bowl (something not to be eaten south of the border).

    However, a new, apparently insatiable craze for porridge has helped upmarket sandwich chain Pret A Manger weather the economic storm and announce a 37pc profit increase.

    Closer to home, it is the pre match food of choice for Canaries’ stars, while Norwich’s former world boxing champ Jon Thaxton describes it as simply knockout.

    As Brits turn in their droves to the comfort breakfast beloved by their grandparents, Pret A Manger, which has a branch in Haymarket, Norwich, is selling 50,000 porridge pots a week.

    Drizzled with a “luscious fruits of the forest compote” it is a world away from grandma’s and the company believes its launch a year ago at 1.99 a pot chimes with straitened times.

    The surprising economic value of porridge has not escaped the attention of other companies either, with it becoming an unlikely addition to the breakfast menu of Wetherspoon pubs, which sell 15,000 servings of porridge a week across the country.

    Its spokesman said: “Made with jumbo oats and served with maple flavour syrup or strawberry and blueberry compote, it is a healthy and low calorie option and growing in popularity with our customers.”

    It is the health giving properties of porridge, even described as a super food by some nutritionists, that have attracted the attention of sportsmen and women.

    Norwich City’s training ground chef Tony Carver said: “I’ve made porridge since I’ve been here, so it’s been available for the past six years as an option for players.

    “We use it here in the mornings for breakfast, but there are also a few players who will quite happily have it as a pre match meal in the hotels before away games. It’s something we have to have available in the hotel. There are two or three individuals for whom it will be their preferred choice of pre match food.

    “Four or five out of a squad of 20 will have it, perhaps as well as something else. Three hours before you play, porridge is a great base.

    “It’s a pure food, made from oats. It’s what is called a complex carbohydrate and it will give the players energy at a slow release, sustaining them through the day.”

    Former world, European and British boxing champion Jon Thaxton, 36, has always believed cheap jerseys in porridge and thinks it is great that so many people are now plumping for the healthy option.

    Mr Thaxton, of Maple Drive, Taverham, said: “When I was boxing I had porridge every day. The complex carbohydrates make it a great energy food and it worked wonders in helping me keep to the right weight.

    “On the day of the fight I would eat nothing else, and I would go in the ring feeling like a Duracell battery.

    “In my work now as a personal trainer, if someone asks me what to have for breakfast, I always recommend porridge.”

    Another of the region’s top former sportmen, marathon runner Paul Evans, 49, also needs no converting.

    The twice Olympian and former Chicago marathon winner, who these days promotes sport for Active Norfolk, said: “When I was running I had porridge with banana every morning. It is full of carbohydrates with hardly any fat.” Fiona Scott, a dietician at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, confirmed that porridge was an increasingly popular option on the hospital’s breakfast menu.

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