This being the first of the year, when people renew their vows to eat healthy, I’m sharing my easy, cost-effective oatmeal mix. I don’t buy the single-serving oatmeal packages or flavored oatmeal. I make my own, for pennies a serving. Lots of people try slow cooker or Instant Pot oatmeal, or overnight refrigerator oatmeal. To me these methods require way too much unnecessary time and effort. (Caveat–I cook for one; not a family. A family may change the efficiencies.)
I buy the 42 oz. carton of quick oats; currently $2.39 at Aldi. That works out to 45 servings at 5.3 cents each.
Shopping list for the mix: (Dillons/Kroger prices listed)
- Oat bran — $2.69 for 18 oz
- Wheat bran — $1.99 for 8 oz
- Chia seeds — $3.99 for 12 oz
- Flax seed — $4.49 for 16 oz
- Ground Cinnamon
The packages of seeds and bran store neatly in a basket in the back of my frig.
Measure into a pint-sized jar:
- 1/2 cup Oat Bran
- 1/2 cup Wheat Bran
- 1/4 cup Flax Seed (ground)
- 1/4 cup Chia Seeds
- 1/4 cup Sugar
- 4 tsps. ground cinnamon (optional)
The ingredients will look like this in the jar:
Shake the jar until the ingredients are mixed.
I keep an old broken teaspoon in the mix jar, and an orphaned 1/3 measuring cup in the oatmeal canister.
To make a bowl of oatmeal
For breakfast stumble into the kitchen sleepy-eyed, and measure into a bowl:
- 1/3 cup of oatmeal
- 2 tsps of the mix
- 3/4 cup of milk (whole, 2% or skim–your choice)
I use a large soup bowl so it doesn’t boil over in the microwave.
- Microwave on high for 90 seconds.
- Stir and let cool for a few minutes; then eat.
I eat this oatmeal every. single. morning. It’s a small breakfast, so around mid morning, I usually need a ‘second breakfast’ of toast or an egg; or I eat a very early lunch.
Additional notes and tips on the oatmeal mix:
- Buying all of the ingredients at once may seem pricey; especially if you aren’t sure you’ll like it. So my suggestion is to buy one item each trip to the store, and start using that item in your oatmeal. Start with oat bran, then wheat bran, then chia seeds, then flax seed.
- Flax seed can be purchased as whole seeds, and then ground in a coffee mill for the mix.
- Cinnamon definitely changes the taste. I suggest trying it in one bowl before making a whole batch of mix with cinnamon. I’m used to the taste, and I like that it ‘might’ have anti-inflammatory benefits.
- I’m not sure the sugar is necessary. I don’t need my oatmeal to be sweet. I plan to make my next batch of mix without the sugar and see if I like it.
- For an extra jolt of flavor and nutrients, try tossing a few craisins, raisins or other dried fruit pieces into the bowl before putting it in the microwave.
When I say I eat this every morning, I mean every morning. If I’m going on a trip, I pack my own individual oatmeal packets; one for each morning I’ll be away. Usually I pack some powdered milk too, so I can make breakfast with hot water, in case that’s all I’ll have access to.
Here are the potential health benefits of the ingredients as described in WebMD and Livestrong:
Oatmeal — LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol management
- WebMD — https://www.webmd.com/diet/oatmeal-benefits
- Livestrong — https://www.livestrong.com/article/39513-nutritional-value-oatmeal/
Milk — Essential for bone density; helps with blood pressure, metabolic syndrome and weight management.
Oat Bran —
“Oat bran might work by blocking the absorption from the gut of substances that contribute to heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes. When applied to the skin, oats appear to reduce swelling.”
- WebMD — https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-814/oats
- Livestrong — https://www.livestrong.com/article/421723-what-is-the-difference-between-oat-bran-whole-grain-oats/
Wheat Bran —
“Wheat bran is a source of fiber. Some people take wheat bran by mouth for preventing diseases of the large intestine (including cancer), stomach cancer, breast cancer, gallbladder disease, hemorrhoids, and a condition where the stomach pushes up through the diaphragm muscle (hiatal hernia). It is also used for treating constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.”
- WebMD — https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-867/wheat-bran
- Livestrong — https://www.livestrong.com/article/41495-wheat-bran-nutrition-information/
Flax Seed —
“There’s some evidence it [flax seed] may help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. That’s quite a tall order for a tiny seed that’s been around for centuries.
- WebMD — https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/benefits-of-flaxseed
- Livestrong — https://www.livestrong.com/article/281929-how-to-eat-ground-flaxseed/
Chia Seeds —
“Enjoy chia seeds for their flavor and to boost the fiber, protein, calcium, antioxidants, and omega-3s in your diet.”
- WebMD — https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/truth-about-chia
- Livestrong — https://www.livestrong.com/article/474747-how-much-chia-seed-should-be-eaten/
“Lab studies have found that cinnamon may reduce inflammation, have antioxidant effects, and fight bacteria.”
- WebMD — https://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-cinnamon
- Livestrong — https://www.livestrong.com/article/497275-cinnamon-powder-vs-ground-cinnamon/