It always surprises me to hear people say “Oatmeal is boring!” when in fact, it is anything but. You can choose the type of oats to change the texture and flavour. You can change the way you cook it – did you know that you can even bake oatmeal? And you can change the toppings!

The vast variety of toppings and add-ins out there make for endless combinations. Nevertheless, when mornings are rushed, it sometimes seems like too much to start from scratch and cook up a batch of cereal. No wonder it’s tempting to buy the prepackaged instant oatmeal that is ready in seconds. The downside, to prepackaged, is that these packets are high in added sugar.

That’s why I love the idea of this recipe. You can decrease the added sugar by using a small amount of dried fruit, and increase the overall nutrient content with these simple tricks:

·         Increase the calcium content by topping it with milk or yogurt; or cook it in milk rather than water. Cooking in milk will also give it a much creamier texture.

·         Increase the healthy fat and fibre content by adding nuts and seeds.

The mix is ready in minutes and keeps on the shelf for up to three months. If you are adding seeds, store it in the refrigerator or freeze it. That way it will stay fresh for up to six months.

What is your favourite way to eat oatmeal?

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Written by a Registered Dietitian.

DIY Instant Oatmeal
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes


4 cups (1 L) quick-cooking oats
3/4 cups (175 ml) sliced almonds (or other nuts)
3/4 cups (175 ml) dried fruit (e.g. raisins, chopped dried apricots)
1/2 cup (125 ml) flaxseeds
2 tsp (10 ml) cinnamon
1 tsp (5 ml) nutmeg
pinch salt



  1. Combine the oats, almonds, dried fruit, flaxseeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in an airtight storage container or freezer bag.

To prepare on the stove

  1. Bring 2/3 cup (150 ml) water to a boil over high heat. Add 1/3 cup (75 ml) of oatmeal mix to the water and stir to combine. Simmer on medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes until smooth and creamy.
  2. To serve, top with milk or yogurt.

To prepare a single serving in the microwave

  1. Combine 2/3 cup (150 ml) water and 1/3 cup (75 ml) of oatmeal mix in a microwave safe bowl. (Tip: use a larger bowl than you think you will need, to ensure the oatmeal does not boil over). Microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes, stirring occasionally until most of the water is absorbed and the oats are creamy.

    Note: Oats prepared either way will thicken as it sits

  2. Top serve, top with milk or yogurt.