Oatmeal is Cheap (and this post is random)

February 7th, 2014 | Posted by Alison Spath in Breakfast

(It’s Friday night and I’m writing about oatmeal.  See –> “this post is random.”)

With all the reading and blogging I’ve done about eating less grains and cutting down on carbs, I have a confession to make.

I still love oatmeal.

I know, I know, who cares!  It’s just oatmeal.  The world has much bigger problems than this.  But it sort of feels like a dirty carb secret.  I READ GRAIN BRAIN!  I’VE READ THE PALEO BOOKS!  I’m not supposed to like oatmeal anymore!

But I do.  I admit it.  Sometime I eat oatmeal.  Love me.

So!  Oatmeal is on the list of affordable health foods, and while oats might not be for the Paleo-minded or low carb enthusiasts, there are definitely worse things out there that we could be eating for breakfast.  So let’s talk about oatmeal and I’ll try not to feel guilty about it because feeling guilty about oats is stupid.

Apples and Rolled Oats

I can find oatmeal in bulk for about $1.49 a pound.  A half cup of uncooked oats weighs just under 2 oz – that’s less than $.20 per serving of oats.  20 cents.  I think we just hit the jackpot when it comes to affordable healthy breakfast options.  Even the most expensive, organic, certified gluten free oats would cost $.40 per serving.

Really?  40 cents?  No, no, put your wallet away… breakfast is on me.

Oats are technically gluten free, but they are often processed in food plants where gluten products are also processed so they can be contaminated with gluten.  This is really only worth knowing if you are gluten sensitive or gluten intolerant.  For the rest of us who read low carb books and only eat oatmeal once in a while (or even every day), my Random-Lady-On-The-Internet opinion is that a little bit of gluten dust in our oatmeal is probably no big deal.

Oats have a decent nutritional profile.  A half cup of uncooked oats has 150 calories, 4 g of fiber, 5 g of protein, iron, folate and some calcium too.  And you probably know that there’s a few different kinds of oatmeal – oat groats, steel cut oats, rolled oats and quick oats – pretty much in that order.

Oat groats are the original oat that haven’t be cut or flattened and take a long time to cook.  (I made something very, very weird with oat groats once.  I never made it again, no Paleo books needed.)

Steel cut oats are oat groats that have been cut (with steel?) and cook in less time (but still 25 minutes!)

Rolled oats (or “Old Fashioned Oats”) are oat groats that have been hulled and rolled.

Quick oats are rolled oats that have been cut and then rolled some more so they cook (get this!) quicker.

And then there’s instant oats, but in my opinion, skip the packets of instant sugar and just go with rolled oats.  Psst!  Rolled oats don’t have to be cooked.

My favorite way to eat oatmeal is as overnight oats soaked in yogurt with a little water or milk, a dash cinnamon, topped with fresh fruit and a little almond butter, shredded coconut or chopped nuts.  But you don’t even have to soak them overnight, or eat them cold.  You could pour some boiling them over them and let them soak for a few minutes hile you hum the tune to Jeopardy! and then TA DA!  Your 20 cent breakfast is ready!

I love cold, creamy overnight oats, but I was recently in the mood for a warm bowl of not-at-all-guilty oats, so I decided to make apple cinnamon oatmeal.

Apple Snatcher

Cooked on the stove top according to the directions on the canister, I added the apple to the water and let it simmer for a while to soften up some before adding the oats.  

A dash of cinnamon, a little butter, it’s time to rock this cozy bowl of wallpaper paste!

Oats Cooked on the Stove Top

Fun toppings like crushed nuts, shredded coconut or a little almond butter completely fix the wallpaper paste issue, by the way.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal


In other related oatmeal news, when I was looking at internet articles for anything blog-worthy about oatmeal, I stumbled upon this Buzzfeed post, 23 On-The-Go Breakfasts That Are Actually Good For You.  I was happily grooving through all the ideas, but then I started reading the comments.  Be warned: lots of complaining about these meals being too expensive, too time consuming, too off the wall, not Pop Tart-y enough.

So let’s talk about the portability of oatmeal and remind ourselves of the two most important takeaways in this train wreck of a Friday night blog post:

1.  Rolled oats don’t have to be cooked!

2. Don’t read the comments.

Here we go!  Portable, fast, healthy, cheap.  NO complaining, no oatmeal for you!

Oats Almonds Yogurt

Just kidding.  You can have oatmeal.  Breakfast is on me, remember?

Sliced almonds, yogurt, cinnamon and 1/2 cup rolled oats all in one container.

Oats Almonds Cinnamon Yogurt

Add a little water or milk, a little honey or maple syrup if you like it sweet, stir it up, slap the lid on, grab a banana, hurry up let’s go the bus is here!

Cheap and Health Breakfast To Go

(If you’re throwing this into your work bag/backpack/purse, perhaps consider a screw top lid.)

Breakfast is served.

To conclude, let’s take a little walk down oatmeal memory lane to visit some old versions of overnight oats with different toppings, just because this is what I call fun on a Friday night.

Berry Christmas in July featuring oats topped with berries from our own city yard black raspberry patch, some sliced bananas and hand crushed pecans.

Black Raspberry Banana Pecan Overnight Oats

When You’re Not Eating Bagels for Breakfast, overnight oats with chia seeds and cute little frozen blueberries, bananas and ground flax seed.

Oats Soaked with Chia Seeds

Pumpkin overnight oats.

Pumpkin Overnight Oats


More bananas, raspberries and almond butter.

Banana Raspberry Overnight Oats

Simple overnight oats with almond butter, banana and coffee from 15 Random Facts About Today’s Long Run way back in 2010, in which I make a joke about waddling around like I’m 9 months pregnant, and little did I know less two summers later I really would be waddling around 9 months pregnant.


Freaky.  (And man, I eat a lot of almond butter.)

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11 Responses

  • I’m not eating a lot of grains anymore either, but I do like some oats once in a while. And I love waking up to some delicious overnight oats! While I don’t think grains are great for us, I seem to be doing okay with some (oats, rice, and quinoa) a few times a week. And I try not to stress too much about it… :)

  • Everything in moderation, my friend. You’ll be fine. Promise. :)

  • B. Gomicchio says:

    Recently, during one of those rare times I found myself wandering around Wegmans, I found their magazine and it was all about oatmeal and how it’s not just for breakfast. They had a nice assortment of recipes, some breakfasty, some not. Remind me and I’ll show you :)

  • Julia says:

    Your oats all look SO yummy! And I think oats = healthy, for the most part. Totally agree with you that there are worse things we could be eating. The only way I can eat oatmeal is if I put in a buttload of chocolate chips and stir it around until it’s a delicious chocolatey goo, which kind of negates the health benefits, hehe, or if I put in so much peanut/almond butter that I can barely see the oats. Something tells me I’ll never quite be an oatmeal lover…but I want to try some of your oat concoctions! They give me hope that oats CAN taste good without a ridiculous amount of toppings.

    • Delicious chocolately goo… I HAVE BEEN MAKING OATMEAL COMPLETELY WRONG!

      The right fruit can definitely make it great, but there’s just something about almond butter that takes it to the next level of deliciousness! (The level right below chocolate deliciousness, I think!)

  • Annie says:

    I actually use oats as flour these days working on gluten free living.

    I love your random posts. always Laugh OUT LOUD. really LOUD.

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