What could be better than a warm bowl of oatmeal on a grey winter morning? One that you can take to go and not have to get up extra early in the morning to make. Also one that you can tuck into your lunch box if you have a habit of buying a little something for breakfast in the mornings at work.
Oatmeal is good for you too, they are a source of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals and are probably one of the cheapest breakfast choices in the grocery store if you buy them plain. They can be customized to whatever add in flavor you would like and you can control the sugar. My favorite of late is adding dried blueberries and almond slivers, but sliced banana and a spoon of peanuts better stirred in is quite nice as well.
The basic recipe for quick or instant oats is essentially this:
- 1/3 cup oats
- 2/3 cup water
- Combine and microwave for 90 seconds. Stir, cool, add your toppings and eat.
So, back to the packets. We like the ease of the round containers that come prepared and you just need to add water, but at a cost of 3 for $5 and two of you are eating them 5 times a week, that comes to about $60 per month.
I prep these in batches and to keep plastic out of the landfill we bring home the small bags and reuse them for multiple batches. On a smaller scale you could absolutely prep them in microwave safe lunch containers that are big enough to hold the oats, add-ins and water and not spill over in the microwave if you plan to use one instead of boiled water.
To set up I would put out all of my desired add in’s so they are easy to reach. I also like to add a little bit extra protein to keep everyone feeling full, and add what I think is good tasting protein powder. Vanilla is a good standard, but I like chocolate as well if I am mixing dried cherries, banana chips, or nuts. There really are no rules except for what you like.
Ingredients for making assorted oatmeal with amount of ingredient listed per pack:
- Quick/instant oats -1/3 cup
- Protein powder, vanilla or another favorite flavor – 2 tablespoons (optional)
- Chia, bran, flax seed, oat bran etc – 1 heaping teaspoon
- Dried blueberries, cherries, cranberries, bananas, raisins, or any other dried chopped fruit that strikes your fancy. – 1 to 2 tablespoons based on preference and other additions
- Chopped or slivered nuts, coconut, pumpkin or sunflower seeds – scant tablespoon
- Sweetener such as sugar, brown sugar, maple sugar, chocolate chips – personal choice, optional
- Spices such as cinnamon, gingerbread, pumpkin pie spice, or chai spice blend – add just a pinch to preference
Into each packet I put in one 1/3 cup scoop of quick or instant oats, then I go back through and add two tablespoons of protein powder. After that maybe a heaping teaspoon of chia, wheat bran, or flax seeds to boost the fibre content and texture to make it interesting. Use one of more than one, whatever you have on hand and whatever you like. Next dried fruit and nuts, maybe a tablespoon or two of dried raisins, blueberries, cranberries, died dried apricots, apples, mangoes, pears, etc. Nothing too moist, dryness is your friend for longer storage times. The next round could be with chopped nuts, slivered almonds or pumpkin seeds if that is something you would like, I always go with raw, unsalted nuts given the choice. Finally, look at your creation and decide whether or not you need to add any additional sweeteners or spices: sugar, brown sugar, maple sugar, chocolate chips are good choices for sweeteners if needed, and on the spicy side you could consider a pinch of cinnamon, ginger bread spice, chai spice or pumpkin pie spice.
Once packaged leave these little gems somewhere you can grab and go. When you need them you can transfer the contents into a bowl (remember to save the bag for the next batch), add approx 2/3 to 1 cup of water and microwave for 90 seconds, OR you can add boiling water to the oatmeal, stir and let it sit for a couple of minutes. It’s up to you really, and you can play with adding as much or as little water as you prefer.
Super easy and super portable, there are no rules on building a recipe so just make what you like and experiment with different combos. A bowl of oatmeal is a very short term relationship commitment so don’t be afraid to be creative.
Have a great day, and a great week! Let me know what you favorite combo is, I am always looking for fresh ideas.