For a quick, healthy, and easy breakfast or snack, either at work or at home, nothing beats those little packets of flavored instant oatmeal. But the high sugar content, artificial ingredients and cost sometimes turn me off to buying them. Instant oatmeal is pretty quick and easy to make yourself. And you can save a significant amount of money by making it yourself.

All you need is:

  • 2 quarts quick cooking or instant oats
  • 1/2 – 1 cup sugar (either white or brown, or Splenda or Stevia)
  • 1/2 cup protein powder or dry milk (optional) for an added protein boost
  • salt (I prefer sea salt with minerals)
  • optional flavorings such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cranberries, raisins, or chopped dried fruits like apples, strawberries, blueberries, or banana.
  • ground flaxseed (optional but healthy for you!)

Use a large bowl. Combine 1/2-1 cup of sugar (or for a low sugar version, use “measures-like-sugar” substitute like Stevia or Splenda) with two teaspoons of salt. Add in 1/2 cup of protein powder, powdered milk, or flaxseed, if desired. Add flavorings, fruit, and nuts if desired. Mix in two quarts of oats. Pour the mix into an airtight storage container. If adding nuts, I recommend storing the container in the freezer or refrigerator if you don’t think you’ll use it soon, or just adding nuts at the last minute before eating.

If you want to take some to work, you can use individual snack-size baggies. Use 1/4 cup of oatmeal mix and add 1/2 cup of hot water in a good sized coffee mug. Microwave for 1 minute, and enjoy. If using a coffee mug for cooking, watch the last 20 seconds so your cup doesn’t overflow. If it’s not enough oatmeal for you, just add more oatmeal to each packet, and use a 1:2 oatmeal:water ratio. If you’re at work and want it creamier, add one half-and-half container or a coffeemate packet.

If you buy large bags of instant oatmeal, this recipe calculates to around 3.5 cents per ounce. For a quick comparison, a decent brand of oatmeal is about 40 cents per ounce. It’s even cheaper if you watch for sales and use your coupons. What a healthy saving!