Do you struggle to eat breakfast in the morning (but know you should)? Do you like oatmeal? Do you like inexpensive, easy, healthy, delicious things to eat? Then these DIY instant oatmeal packets are for you!
Making my own instant oatmeal packets has been a lifesaver for me. They are incredibly easy to assemble and you can add whatever ingredients to the packets you want. Dried fruit, nuts, spices… there are so many delicious combos (see below). They have a really long shelf life because they are just made from pantry items, they are portable, and – oh, right – they are SO much more inexpensive, delicious and healthy than packets that are from the grocery store (which usually contain things like artificial ingredients and too much sugar)!
On a typical work day, Zach and I have to be out the door at 7:00 at the latest (we are both teachers at the same school, and our days start super early). We’ve gotten into the habit of getting up early enough to make time for breakfast in the morning; we eat it while watching the first 15 minutes of The Daily Show from the night before (it’s an awesome routine and the perfect way to start the day!).
But sometimes, we are in a rush, or it’s just too early to be hungry enough for breakfast. Enter DIY instant oatmeal packets. I keep some in my pantry for rushed mornings, and I take some to work and leave them in my desk.
So. Here’s what to do.
- Get some plastic sandwich bags and arrange them so they are “standing” by folding the tops over (see photo). This way, it’s easy to add individual ingredients to each and create a kind of assembly line.
- Get out your ingredients and measuring spoons. You will need: quick oats (you can also use regular rolled oats which will have more of a crunch when you add hot water to them), salt, nuts (I used sliced almonds), dried fruit (I used chopped dates), and sugar (I used brown sugar. Alternatively, you can omit the sugar and add honey or maple syrup to the oatmeal when you actually use the packet). If you want, add some spices as well, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cloves, or dried orange zest (I used cinnamon).
- Add to each bag: 3 tablespoons of oats, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon of nuts, 1 tablespoon of dried fruit, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of spices, if you are using any. (Or more or less of any of those ingredients. I don’t measure- I just eyeball it.)
Done! Wasn’t that easy? When you are ready to eat, just mix about 1/2 cup of hot water and the contents of the oatmeal packet in a bowl and allow to sit for one minute. Stir and enjoy!
At work, I’ll put the contents from the oatmeal packet into my coffee mug and add hot water from the water cooler (or, if one isn’t available, I’ll add cold water and microwave for a minute). At home, I’ll heat water in my tea kettle to add to the oats in a bowl. And BOOM! OATMEAL! It’s like magic.
The base of the oatmeal will always have oats, salt, and sugar. You can leave it like that if you want a simple blend. Or, here are some ideas for other flavor combos:
- Cinnamon raisin (add raisins and cinnamon)
- Orange cranberry (add dried orange zest and dried cranberries)
- Maple and Brown Sugar (add maple syrup to the cooked oats and use brown sugar in the mix)
- Fig Newton (add dried figs)
- Peanut butter (add peanut butter powder, which can be made in your food processor by grinding up peanuts, and chopped peanuts)
- Apple Cinnamon (add dehydrated apples and cinnamon)
- Strawberries and Cream (add dehydrated strawberries and a splash of milk or cream to the cooked oats)
- Gingerbread (add ground ginger, cloves, and cinnamon to the mix, with a tad of molasses to the cooked oats)
- Banana Bread (add dehydrated bananas, pecans, and cinnamon)
- Hot Chocolate (add cocoa powder and chocolate chips to the mix- they will melt when you add hot water!)
I could probably go on forever with these combos. Any other ideas? Leave them in the comments below!
How To Make Your Own DIY Instant Oatmeal Packets
- Add all ingredients to a plastic baggie or small tupperware, and store on the shelf for up to 6 months.
- When you are ready to eat, add 1/2 to 3/4 cup hot water to the contents of the oatmeal packet in a bowl or mug. Allow to sit for one minute, stir, and eat!
- Don't have quick oats? You can also use regular old fashioned oats, which will have more of a crunch when hot water is added.
- Don't want to use sugar? Leave it out, and add honey or maple syrup after adding hot water to the oats.
- The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.