The Oatmeal Challenge


Don’t forget! Pennywise Platter Thursday is tomorrow.

Want to save money and time, but still want to eat nourishing food? Maybe you’d like to join me in the oatmeal challenge!

I love cooking. I love being creative and coming up with new and better recipes. But I also love simple food (and certainly would become insane if I didn’t cook plenty of simple meals). I also find that I don’t have much food budget left for breakfast food by the time I’ve bought my ingredients for dinner. This is why I love oatmeal. I can get organic oatmeal for super cheap and it’s so filling and satisfying, especially with dabs of butter and coconut sugar on it. Yummy.

I also love how much money I can save.

Enter my personal oatmeal challenge!

This upcoming Monday I am going to start a week of eating oatmeal every day for a week. Now, I will be doing oatmeal, but if you wanted to do the challenge yourself, you can do any type of hot cereal! Then on Wednesday, the 26th (two weeks from now), I will share how it went for myself and the family.

If anyone wants to join me, please do! Leave a comment on this post, letting me know that you are, and then leave a comment on Wednesday, the 26th sharing how it went for you (how the family responded, whether it got boring or not, if it saved time and money, etc). If you are a blogger and want to do a post about it, I would also be glad to post a link to you too in my post on the 26th.

Here’s some ideas:

To make it more nutritious, soak it, like I do in this recipe.

To keep it really, really simple soak overnight and make a large pot on the first day. Then all you have to do is reheat enough for one meal with a little water as needed each morning. How easy is that?

If you feel like it will become boring having it exactly the same way each day, serve it with different toppings. Maple syrup one day, pan fried apples the next, raisins and rapadura another, etc.

So what do you think? Anyone else up for a week of savings in money and time by joining the oatmeal challenge? I am curious to see how my family responds to having oatmeal everyday! And would love to have you join me.

This post is part of Fight Back Fridays

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. says

    My husband and son eat a soaked oatmeal porridge nearly every day for breakfast. I much prefer baked oatmeal to the porridge. He uses a heavy hand with seeds, nuts and raisins but not much sweetener beyond that. I’ve yet to find a decent way to make oatmeal in the crockpot without coming up with complete glop or caked on goo. Maybe I’ll challenge myself to that – developing a decent slowcooker recipe for porridge.

    KH: I would love to have you share a “decent slow cooker recipe for porridge”! Let me know if you have any success. 🙂

  2. says

    We already eat a fair bit of oatmeal in our diet almost daily. I made oatmeal muffins with grated carrot and zucchini, oatmeal pancakes and an oatmeal based quick bread that is gorgeously savoury. The texture of porridge too often makes me actually gag and dry heave, so I have to be more creative in using this fantastic grain.

  3. Rosy says

    I love me so oat meal with vanilla and cinnamon!

    I don’t like the soaked oat meal as a porridge, but if you dry the oat meal in the oven after soaking it and then keep it in the pantry, like crispy nuts, the texture isn’t as prison gruel like.

    KH: What an interesting idea! exactly how do you that?

  4. Kim says

    I’m in!

    Next week is the first week of school for us, so making a big batch and then having it at the ready will come in handy as we all adjust to the “up and out” schedule!


  5. says

    Is oatmeal gluten free? Some sources say yes, and others no. We are thinking my son might have celiac…he is getting really sick (15months old) and they have ran every kind of test and can’t think of a thing. We are just waiting for the results on the celiac test….and now we are going dairy free too.

    KH: You got some great answers below from other readers, so I won’t repeat their advice. The only think I would add is that I wouldn’t give him oatmeal at first, if it does have it. Let me heal a bit and then try it on him and see how he responds. Many do fine, but I have heard that others don’t.

  6. says

    Katie, we are gluten free and eat oatmeal nearly every day; McCann’s in the can are ok, as are Bob’s GF oats. In our experience it’s actually quite healing, if you can be assured that they have not been cross-contaminated.

  7. says

    We already eat oatmeal daily for breakfast, but I am going to try soaking it with a little lemon.

    To answer Katie’s question on gluten – Although the protein in oats is not the exact same problematic protein found in wheat, rye, barley and spelt (note: spelt is NOT gluten-free), commercial oats have been found to contain gluten, possibly due to cross contamination in the harvesting, storing and milling process. There are gluten free oats usually found at health food stores, but they are pretty pricey!

  8. says

    I’ll get in on it. My girls love oatmeal for breaskfast so it shouldn’t be too hard. They have yet to appreciate the yumminess of adding things to it though. All they like is boring brown sugar. Me? Maple syrup, raisins, dried apricots, gogi berries, sunflower seeds, maybe some cut up apple or banana and cream. Mm. Looking forward to breaskfast tomorrow!

  9. says

    I love oatmeal and haven’t had it in a long time in favor of eating Greek yogurt every morning. I’d be concerned about losing the protein by just eating oatmeal, maybe if I added a tablespoon of nut butter or yogurt?

    KH: You certainly could boost the protein a much of different ways. Nuts, or nut butter, yogurt on the side, or, like in the recipe I linked to in the post, by adding chia seeds. I love the texture they add too.

  10. says

    Great challenge!

    I haven’t figured out rolled oats in the crockpot, but we love steel-cut oats cooked in the crockpot overnight. We grease the crockpot first, put it on high for two hours, then change the crockpot to warm to finish cooking overnight–without lifting the lid. I love the texture and it doesn’t burn on the sides. Fantastic with a nut butter, a dab of coconut oil, and some maple syrup!

  11. Jessica says

    We pretty much already do this to have a quick breakfast & stretch the budget. We have soaked oatmeal 4-5 times each week now. On the other days we either have oatmeal bake, eggs, pancakes, or a banana bread (or something like that)

    Jessica O.

  12. says

    Speaking as a celiac, you probably should be cautious with oats if it turns out your son has celiac. Wait a while to see how he is doing with the gluten free diet and then introduce them. Some celiacs have trouble with oats, either because of the cross contamination issues or maybe just because….it isn’t an inexpensive option but there are a couple of places in Canada that will ship you GF oats.

  13. judy k says

    We love oats – organic brown sugar! Palm sugar! Soy/rice milk, maybe cranberries, raisins, walnuts – whatever our pantry will provide on that day!

    Question: if we make the 5 grain cereal ( whole grain oats, whole grain wheat, whole grain rye, whole grain barley, whole grain triticale (wheat)and flaxseed) do we still need to add anything but water to the soak? It already has wheat and flax in it. Can you help me?

    KH: It’s still best to add a bit of an acidic additive to the soaking water, like lemon juice, yogurt, kefir kombucha, etc. Hope that helps!

  14. Kimberly Duffy says

    Yum. I love oatmeal. I ate it everyday for three years before getting burned out on it. I’d love to join this challenge, though. I need to cut back on my food budget and strawberry season is almost over so no more berries for breakfast.
    My girls love it too and even my husband has joined me in appreciating it.
    I love it even more now that I eat butter and drink milk!

  15. KimiHarris says

    Hi Everyone!
    I’ve responded to a few of you above! Thanks for the great response so far! I am looking forward to hearing how it goes for you all!

  16. mel says

    I wish I was game for this challenge. I love oats! (And most grains, to be honest!) But I am gestationally diabetic and can’t have a carb load like that early in the morning or it will throw me off all day. May I recommend adding a protein to your oatmeal, too. Or even serving it with bacon or organic, nitrate free sausage. My husband likes it with soy sauce and butter and salt so maybe you could make a savory version with meat? I may have to experiment…… But why does it just sound so much better with maple syrup and pecans?!

    Good luck all of you who can take this challenge!

  17. June says

    I make a Swiss Oats recipe that is great. This recipe is for a serving of 4

    1 1/2 cups of oats, 1 1/4 cup of milk, 2 T honey, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.

    Stir it together in a large bowl and allow to soak in refrigerator, covered, overnight (or at least 4 hours).

    In the morning mix in 3 cups of any type of fresh or dried fruit and 1/4 cup chopped nuts.

    In the summer it is a refreshing alternative!

  18. Angela says

    Like Esther, I can’t get past the texture of cooked oatmeal, although I love the smell and wish I liked it. However, one of my favourite breakfasts is whole oats, soaked in water overnight. I just fill a container half way with whole oats, fill the rest up with water and leave over night in the refridgerator (to make it more nourishing, I wonder if overnight soaking at room temperature with whey would be good?). The result is more like raw, soaked muesli/granola. The oats are nice and soft and I love the flavour. Kind of like a cold cereal. I think that during the summer this would be a better temperature.

    Then you can add your additional flavourings – honey, dried or fresh fruit, yogurt – they are all good. My personal favourite is soaking dried apricots overnight in water with a little honey and lemon juice. The liquid has a great flavour as a syrup/sauce and the apricots are nice and tangy.

    A note on gluten in oats – Living in China it is interesting noticing the names of things. We had friends here who were allergic to gluten and foudn it easy to avoid as all the gluten free grains (rice, millet, corn…) are called mi and all the ones containing gluten (wheat and oats included) are called mai. So that helps to discern what is okay to eat. Some health foods are difficult (and some impossible) to find in this city, but grains are one thing that are cheap and easy to access. I love the variety of grains at the local market – many I’ve never seen till now and am only just trying them out.

  19. says

    This may sound strange but every fall after picking as many apples as I can I make lots of chunky applesauce. Then everyday for lunch I put dry oatmeal in a bowl, microwave it about 45 seconds, spoon some applesauce on top and warm the whole thing another 45 seconds. It’s filling and addictive!

  20. says

    Just a suggestion… add some organic peanut butter to your oatmeal for an added burst of taste and protien. I find that if I add it, I don’t need much else for taste, it’s just perfect. Also, It keeps me satisfied much longer since it then becomes a complete meal. You can try it after it’s in the bowl or melt it slightly just before the oatmeal leaves the pot. My trainer taught me that. I rarely eat it any other way now. Yummm.

  21. Brittany says

    My family loves oatmeal and we eat it almost every day except Saturday (crepe day). The key for us, however, is to make it plain and let everyone pick out their own toppings for the day. Usually it’s some kind of fruit, nut, sweetener, and sometimes a spice or two. My 2 year old especially loves coming up with very umm…original…concoctions.

  22. Christina says

    I enjoy oatmeal much more in the winter as it is quite warming (unless of course it’s leftover and in the fridge but then I usually fry up oatcakes).

    Jendeis, I too feel better on more protein (and fat), so I often eat the oatmeal with pumpkin seed butter, real cinnamon and some powdered stevia. My teeth hurt if I eat too much sugar, including fruit, so the stevia works well for me. Sometimes I add flax seeds too. It’s also a pretty good breakfast with boiled eggs, especially if the oatmeal is not sweetened much..maybe some butter and sea salt.

  23. Kris says

    I’ve been eating oatmeal nearly every morning for the past year while living as a missionary overseas. It’s definitely the cheapest thing I can eat for breakfast. Some of my favorite additions include:
    – Spices! I love to make a “chai” inspired oatmeal, with a dash of vanilla (or almond!) extract, and some cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and even ground ginger, along with a little honey or brown sugar.
    – Molasses (a delightful sweetener to change the flavor).
    – Chopped dried apricots, nutmeg and a drop of almond extract.
    – Chopped dates and honey.
    – Frozen fruit, such as cherries, blueberries, or raspberries, added while I’m cooking it, along with a little vanilla or almond extract.
    Also, as an equally inexpensive (at least in Eastern Europe) alternative, I make breakfast polenta occasionally.
    I’m excited to try some of the other commenter’s ideas…I reached the “gag” stage with oatmeal a few weeks ago so have been skipping breakfast altogether :-(.

  24. micki says

    Hey, I had the best breakfast this morning. The most delicious oat meal I have ever had in my entire life. I put 3/4 cup oats in glass a measure, twice that in filtered water, squeezed a lemon over it-maybe a table spoon, one teaspoon spelt flour and soaked it over night on the counter. I didn’t add any more water the next morning, but wow….double wow!!!! It was so wonderful I am going to soak some more tonight. I only added honey to it and I am glad, because it didn’t need anything else. I loved the lemon….

  25. micki says

    Hey, I had the best breakfast this morning. The most delicious oat meal I have ever had in my entire life. I put 3/4 cup oats in a glass measure, twice that in filtered water, squeezed a lemon over it-maybe a table spoon, one teaspoon spelt flour and soaked it over night on the counter. I didn’t add any more water the next morning, but wow….double wow!!!! It was so wonderful I am going to soak some more tonight. I only added honey to it and I am glad, because it didn’t need anything else. I loved the lemon….

  26. Anna says

    We eat oatmeal about every other morning, my nine year old does get tired of it though. So I sometimes make an extra batch which I cool and add a beaten egg to. Then I drop tablespoons of it in a greased (butter or coconut oil) skillet. Flip them when the edges are set and serve with cinnamon and maple syrup. She then thinks of them as pancakes and it’s no problem getting her to eat her oatmeal! I got the recipe from NT, it’s next to the soaked oatmeal recipe.

  27. Monica says

    I’m a daily oatmeal girl. Try it with unsweetened coconut flakes, a tablespoon of flax seeds and pure maple syrup. Really tasty and good for you.

  28. A says

    I thought this challenge would mean eating lots more oatmeal. It isn’t just for breakfast, you know. There are soups, pilafs, breads, and more. If your pantry includes the steel cut variety, so much the better. I invite you to do an internet search for savory oatmeal recipes. A whole new world may open up!

  29. says

    My family loves oatmeal! We eat it almost every day either as regular old oatmeal or granola or baked oatmeal.

    I really want to learn to make haggis with oatmeal… gonna test the recipe soon…

  30. Jen says

    wow – some fun ideas here 🙂
    we do oatmeal often, it’s not my “favorite” but we will give it a try next week and mix in some new stuff!

    My son’s “favorite yogurt” is:
    Yogurt and oats – twice as much yogurt, roughly as oats
    Add any nuts, seeds, dried and fresh fruit, little honey if you like – mix well and store overnight and serve.
    We like sunflower seeds, frozen blueberries, honey, chopped apple or applesauce and I usually throw in some flax meal

  31. says

    I agree with Cheeseslave about how good pancakes are when adding oatmeal. 🙂

    We have oats every day of the week already. We turned to oats when we gave up boxed cereals several years ago. We also eat fried eggs at the same meal, or at least some of us do. In the winter, we do a soaked/cooked oatmeal with cinnamon, nuts, seeds, and coconut added. In the summer, I do a raw/soaked muesli with cinnamon, raisins, coconut, chopped nuts. After all these years, no one has gotten tired of oats!

  32. Juanita says

    We also just soak rolled oats overnight in the refrigerator in homemade yogurt. It is absolutely delicious! My two year old daughter cannot get enough of this nutritionally packed breakfast, and my husband–who grew up eating nothing but Frosted Flakes–prefers this to anything he’s ever eaten either. We mix it with dried fruit, flax seed, and sometimes some applesauce for added flavor.

  33. says

    Hey Kimi!

    It’s been a while. 🙂 Anyway, ever since I stumbled across your genius post for soaked oatmeal, I’ve been eating it every weekday (and some weekends too!). I went from hating oatmeal (the slimy, runny kind) to looking forward to my yummy, gloppy oatmeal every morning. I also like Pennywise Platter Thursdays–one of these days, I’ll have time to try some of the awesomeness! (Why is August so darn busy?!)

  34. says

    If you don’t like it slimy, try cooking it without stirring it at all, at any point, before it is completely done cooking. Apparently that keeps it from releasing the starches into the water and the texture is much improved for those of us who don’t like it otherwise.

    If you aren’t set on soaking it, then this is how I do it: Put about twice as much water as oatmeal (a tad less) in a pot, with a pinch of salt if you like, and bring it to a full boil. Add the oats and do not stir. (If a few of them float, you can just push them gently under.) Cover, remove from the heat, and let sit for about 15 minutes. Then remove the cover and top as you like.

  35. Carole says

    We love oatmeal any way……in the crockpot, baked, soaked and simmered int he morning served with fresh fruit, yougurt and nuts or seeds. But another favourite is steel cut oats stirred into yogurt the night before. the oats soften over night and the yogurt becomes deliciously thick. We mix seasonal fruit in in the morning! Very frugal and portable!


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