How to Make Flavored, Heart-Healthy Oatmeal

Single-serving oatmeal packets are tasty and convenient, but they are also expensive and full of sugar and unneeded ingredients. You can make your own healthy, delicious oatmeal that will be just as convenient as single serving packets, but much less expensive and with you controlling the ingredients and sugar content.

Oatmeal is a nutritious addition to any diet and offers a number of health benefits including lowering cholesterol, improving cardiovascular health, increasing dietary fiber intake and offering a good source of protein and iron. Of course, the least amount of processing offers the best health benefits, but even the quick-cooking oats (which have been processed to achieve that quick-cooking status) have 6 grams of protein and 10% of the recommended daily intake of iron per serving and offer all of the above-mentioned health benefits.

By quick-cooking oats or starting with old-fashioned , you can create healthy alternatives to typical oatmeal packets that have little to no sugar and none of the additives and preservatives you will find in some of the major prepackaged brands. Of course, if you peruse the oatmeal section of your local grocery store, you will see options that are organic, all natural or have a lower sugar content, which is great, but you can save a bundle by making your own.

Making your own healthy oatmeal mixtures begins with buying a large quantity of old-fashioned oats, or for faster cooking quick-cooking oats, and determining the dry ingredients you will use to flavor your mix. The reason for this is that by using non-perishable ingredients, or at least ingredients with a long shelf life, you can concoct larger quantities of oatmeal and store them in an airtight container for your family to eat all week long. Brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, granulated or powdered sweeteners, dried cranberries and dried fruits all lend themselves well to this.

Aside from the traditional flavored oatmeal ingredients, such as brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, raisins and sugar, you might consider adding additional fiber by mixing in a small amount of a powdered fiber supplement, such as Benefiber, or adding calcium or other nutritional supplements in powdered form. Be sure to adhere to serving suggestions when adding nutritional supplements to your oatmeal mix (or to any food) since some supplements can cause stomach discomfort, gastrointestinal issues or other health concerns, particularly in children.

After selecting the ingredients that suit your family’s taste and nutrition needs best, mix them together well for even distribution and store them in an airtight container. Also, once you have created your oatmeal mix, take the guesswork out of determining serving size by placing a single serving scoop, or measuring cup, in the container.

Making a container of your pre-mixed oatmeal for the week is particularly helpful if you have children who are old enough to boil water or use the microwave. This will allow them to make their own breakfast or healthy snack, saving you even more time.

Additional Tips for Making your Own Flavored Oatmeal

  1. Add your own maple syrup and brown sugar to achieve a healthier version of this popular flavor combination.
  2. Add vanilla flavored soy, rice or almond milk for additional flavor and a creamier texture.
  3. Use Splenda’s regular or brown sugar blend for a sweet, sugar free treat.
  4. Add fortified soy, rice or almond milk for a creamier texture and an additional boost of vitamins and minerals.
  5. Sweeten your oatmeal with stevia, or another all natural sweetener, for a delicious, sugar free breakfast or snack.