Heather

Hi.

I'm Heather, a Registered Dietitian from Vancouver, Canada. Welcome to my blog. I'm so excited to share my favourite recipes and chat about nutrition with you! 

Better-for-you Instant Oatmeal

Better-for-you Instant Oatmeal

Recipe Serves 1

One of the down sides of instant oatmeal is that it's usually lower in fiber than the longer cooking oats. Most instant packets like Quaker have flavour and sugar added as well, so the nutrient profile isn't very balanced. Steel cut oats are really the best option when it comes to choosing oatmeal, but they do take a long time to cook and I get that they're not the best option for everyone. If you can do steel cut oats when you have the time, great, but sometimes you just need something quick. This is a no-cook version of 'instant' oatmeal that offers much more nutritionally, but you still don't have to take the time to prep in the morning. Just add hot water and you're ready to go! 

 
Better Instant Oatmeal
 

This version is my favourite when I'm making an 'instant' hot breakfast - peanut butter banana with a little hint of cocoa! You can use the base recipe and modify it to suit your taste - mix up the fruit, add protein powder, change up the spices. I'll give you some ideas at the end of this post for other flavours that go well. I don't add any sweetener most of the time - the fruit is enough. For those mornings you just need a little sweetness add a drizzle of maple syrup or honey, but use it sparingly.

I usually pop my dry ingredients in a jar and bring my fruit to work with me, then just add hot water, stir and wait a few minutes and my breakfast is ready to go at my desk! All the fiber really fills me up and keeps me going right until lunch. 

Tools:

  • Jar or other heat-proof container (if you're going to take your breakfast to go)
  • Measuring spoons & cups
 
Better Instant Oatmeal 1
 

Ingredients: 

For smaller appetites and people: 

  • 1/4 cup quick cooking oats (gluten-free if needed)
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 heaping Tbsp Nutracleanse, ground flax, psyllium, bran, or other high fiber addition. 
  • 2 Tbsp PB2 (Chocolate or original)
  • 1 medium banana, sliced
  • 1/4 cup milk of your choice (dairy or non-dairy)
  • Hot water
  • Optional: For extra protein and lasting power add 1/2-1 scoop protein powder (unflavoured or chocolate are my faves) or add 2-3 Tbsp hemp hearts. 

For bigger appetites and more active people: 

Better Instant Oatmeal Steps
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 heaping Tbsp Nutracleanse, ground flax, psyllium, bran, or other high fiber addition.
  • 2 Tbsp PB2 (chocolate or original) 
  • 1 medium banana, sliced
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup milk of your choice
  • 1/2 - 1 scoop of protein powder (unflavoured or chocolate are my faves) or 2-3 Tbsp hemp hearts
  • Hot water

Instructions:

  1. Put the dry ingredients into a jar or bowl and stir of shake to mix well. (Dry ingredients = oats, chia, Nutracleanse or other fiber substitute, PB2, protein powder or hemp hearts)
  2. Pour boiling water into the jar or bowl. Add enough to cover the dry mixture completely, and then stir immediately. Mix well and add more hot water bit by bit until you get to the consistency you like. 
  3. Add the milk
  4. Slice the banana add it to your oatmeal mixture. 
  5. Enjoy!

Optional: Top with peanut butter or garnish with shredded coconut for a little extra coconut flavour


Alternate Flavour Ideas: 

  1. Blueberry Cinnamon: add a sprinkle of cinnamon + 1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries
  2. Extra Chocolatey: use chocolate protein powder or swap 1 Tbsp of the PB2 for 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  3. Strawberry Vanilla: skip the PB2 and add a scoop of vanilla protein powder. Slice q cup of fresh strawberries and use them in place of the bananas
  4. Pumpkin Spice: Skip the PB2. Use 1/2-1 scoop of vanilla protein powder and add 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice. Stir in 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree after you add your hot water. Optional - top with a drizzle of maple syrup. 
  5. Cranberry crunch: Add 1/4 cup of dried unsweetened cranberries + 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds. Skip the PB2, and use 1/4 scoop of vanilla protein powder plus a splash of vanilla extract. 

- there are so many more options. If anyone comes up with a favourite let me know - I'd love to hear it! I just chose to add a bit of creamy peanut butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon to mine this morning - yum :)

 
Better Instant Oatmeal 4
 

Nutrition: 

Smaller Appetites

Small serving - without any protein powder

Small serving - without any protein powder

Larger Appetites

Large serving - with 1/2 cup oats and 1/2 scoop whey isolate (*note - this will vary a bit depending on your protein powder)

Large serving - with 1/2 cup oats and 1/2 scoop whey isolate (*note - this will vary a bit depending on your protein powder)

Now let's compare with a store-bought version. Here's the Quaker apple cinnamon flavour - I got the nutrition info from their website. Note that the portion is about half the size of my recipe, so to compare it properly you need to double it for the small serve and triple it for the large serving (compare the calories for a reference).  

Quaker apple cinnamon instant oats (from Quaker website)

Quaker apple cinnamon instant oats (from Quaker website)

Highlights: 

  • If you do the math, the store-bought version ends up higher in sugar and way lower in fiber and protein than our home-made version!
  • Most of the sugar in my home-made version is coming from the fruit, which isn't a bad thing! Fruit is full of vitamins, minerals and fiber, so it's a good healthy addition to breakfast. This is why the sugar content doesn't change much between the small serving and larger serving of the home-made oats. 
  • To contrast, the store-bought instant oats has sugar listed as the second ingredient, meaning that sugar is coming into the picture without any of the good stuff attached. 
  • All things considered, even if you're having store-bought instant oatmeal it isn't the worst breakfast option - there are far worse things out there, but if you can easily make a tasty and healthier version at home, you should try it!
Enjoy!

Enjoy!

Happy cooking! 

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