Mainely Dish: Oatmeal Packets

— By Alex Gayton, Assistant EFNEP Coordinator & Social Media Coordinator, Expanded Food Nutrition and Education Program (EFNEP), University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Visit EFNEP’s recipe website for the Oatmeal Packets recipe and recipe video.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive breakfast alternative, try this Oatmeal Packet recipe! Oatmeal is one of my go-to menu items for breakfast, especially in the cold winter months. I love oatmeal because there are so many flavor options to choose from. My personal favorite flavor combination is cinnamon, a little maple syrup for sweetness, and fresh bananas or frozen blueberries, which I always have on hand.

Most people, including myself, love the convenience of buying prepackaged oatmeal packets because of the different flavor options and the portability of the packets. Many of us are looking for ways to decrease our grocery bill, and this recipe provides a simple and cost effective solution rather than purchasing individual oatmeal packets. I would recommend purchasing a large container of plain quick oats because that’s what this recipe calls for, but other oat varieties can work as well. Be sure to have the cooking directions handy if you use a different oat type so you can refer to them when you are ready to make the oatmeal.

To put the oatmeal packets together, choose the oats you want to use, choose the flavor combination, and make the individual packets by adding all the dry ingredients to a reusable container or sandwich bag for future use. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between oats you see in the store? Here’s a quick overview:

Types of Oats

Steel Cut Oats

If you cut grain kernels into a few pieces with a sharp metal blade, you get steel cut oats. These take the longest to cook and have a coarser texture compared to regular and quick rolled oats.

Rolled Oats – regular or old-fashioned

Rolled oats, also called old fashioned oats, are created when grain kernels are steamed and then rolled into flakes. These cook faster than steel cut oats.

Rolled Oats – quick or instant

Quick or instant rolled oats are created when the regular oat flakes are rolled thinner, or steamed longer. Quick or instant oats cook the fastest.

The great thing about all these varieties of oats is that the nutrition value stays the same and they are all whole grains. Grains (MyPlate) have important sources of nutrients including fiber, B vitamins, and minerals like iron. Fiber is important for digestion and may help reduce blood cholesterol levels which may lower risk of heart disease.