"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Oats and More

My kids like, nay, LOVE oatmeal. Averie would eat it for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner if I would let her. I realize that not all children are as passionate about oatmeal as mine, but here is a quick and easy way to get your kids to eat it if they are more reluctant.

Now I have to be honest here. I buy the big huge honkin' bulk bags of whole oats for daily use. We prefer them raw or slightly cooked rather that cooked to death/mush/mooosh. Ew. Typically I grab a hand full of raw oats, toss in some brown sugar and a little salt, pour in a little hot water, and stir. If it's too runny we throw it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. And my kids eat it this way, usually without complaint.

But sometime I take my kids with me to the grocery store. I avoid it at all costs, mind you, but sometimes I have no other alternative. And the children will inevitably find the breakfast aisle with all the Quaker Oat instant oatmeal boxes with the pretty pictures and exotic flavors and they will whine and beg and I will see that they are on sale, and I WILL give in and purchase said oatmeal packets, even though we have 300 pound bags of whole oats sitting in my food storage. It happens.

But then, to make matters worse, the children will eat nothing else for breakfast until each and every packet of oatmeal is consumed. This usually takes 1-2 mornings because the packets weigh 36 grams each and they need 3 of them to fill their growing bellies. Three children at three packs each is nine, and there are only ten in the box. That leaves the one packet of banana flavored oatmeal that no one wants to eat. It usually sits in my pantry for a few weeks until someone gets hungry and desperate enough to try banana oatmeal again. It's never a good choice.

And another complaint I have with these cute little packets is that they have tons of sugar. 12 grams of sugar in one 36 gram pack. That is one third sugar for those of you that don't want to pull out the calculator. Yikes! They also have a ton of salt (180 mg), and then funky things like partially hydrogenated soybean oil, artificial flavors, etc. And it's heavily processed. They aren't exactly Twinkies, but not the very best things for my kids to eat for breakfast everyday either.

SOOOO, I made some of my own. I tried them myself, and I think they taste better than the Quaker packs, but you'll have to try them for yourself. These are so great because the kids can have the fun and independence of the store-bought packets with the nutrition of boring old oatmeal.

Here are the types I made this morning:

These make a really big bowl of oatmeal. You could of course make them smaller if you want smaller amounts, or even divide this in half for two kids. There are approximately 15 grams of sugar in a 90 gram packet. Now I'm no math whiz, but I'm pretty sure that is about 1/2 the sugar of the other packets. The salt is about 280 mg for the 90 gram packet compared to 180 mg in each 36 gram packet. That is about 1/2 the salt. And if you want even less, you are the cook baby! Averie can easily get by with half the sugar. Mason and Ellorie will balk a little if it isn't sweet enough.

Now lest you think I'm wasting tons and tons of ziploc bags, I do have a plan. I only made one of each type of oatmeal. I plan to just re-fill each bag as the kids use them. After a while I will know which ones are their favorites, and then I can make a bunch of the most popular varieties. In the mean time they get to try all the new varieties and fight over who get what and when.

I used Thrive dried fruit in my packets. I recently discovered the company and love it! (I'm not getting a kickback from them or anything, I just thought I would share a great product if anyone wants to know.)

I went to a party a while ago and got some dried fruit to sample. I am not disappointed in any way. The mangoes, strawberries, and pineapple taste JUST like the fresh fruit and re-constitute so well that you can hardly tell the difference. Don't even get me started on the meats and cheese. I kid you not, they are amazing. They are a little expensive, but still less than fresh food, and they last forever (I think 30 years or something).

If you want to try some, I think you can order them directly from the company, but you get a better price if you have a party or order them from someone else's party. And... it just so happens that I decided to have a party on the 24th of September. If you want to order, make a comment or send me an email or facebook me or whatever. You can order over the phone or internet, you don't actually have to come to my house. No pressure. I'm just sharing. (But they are SOOOO good!)

I posted the instructions and recipe for the oatmeal packets HERE on my recipe blog. I'll keep you all updated on the favorite flavors once the kiddies sample the oatmeal goods.


Hilarie* said...

yummy! Sounds delicious! I can't believe how big Averie is now!!! She looks so grown up!!!

Anna said...

Yum! I'll need to make some of your recipes. I've experimented with my own oatmeal mixes, and agree that they taste better than the sugary, grocery store brands. (And are so much more economical!)