I grew up eating packets of instant oatmeal because it was a quick way for a young child to prepare herself what my parents considered a healthy breakfast. And indeed, as it is a complex carbohydrate that is high in fiber and contains a few grams of protein, it was a better choice than a sugary cereal, even though my favorite flavors contained as much sugar as cold cereal did.
My daughter likes oatmeal but prefers the flavored kinds, especially the apple-cinnamon variety. I like the convenience of instant, but I generally choose whole foods over packaged. In addition, instant oatmeal averages 10 grams of sugar per serving; Quaker makes low-sugar varieties, but I decided I wanted to do even better.
I grabbed a small apple, peeled and diced half of it and placed them in a bowl. I gave the other half to my daughter, who ate it while she waited for the oatmeal.
I poured the required amount of boiling water (use half water and half 100% apple juice if your kid needs it sweet) right into the bowl over the apples and let them sit for a couple of minutes to soften the apples…no biggie, since it would have been too hot for her to eat anyway.
Last, I stirred the oatmeal into the water and apples, sprinkled some cinnamon over the top, and topped it with a splash of low-fat milk and a little drizzle of maple syrup. She loved it, and I achieved my goals of avoiding the wastefulness of single serve packaging, reducing the sugar in the meal and using whole fresh fruits while spending about the same amount of time as making a slice of toast.
My favorite instant oatmeal is by Old Wessex Ltd. It comes in a bulk container, has almost 7 grams of protein over 4 grams of dietary fiber per serving. If you can’t find this brand, you can use the Food Finder on the Guiding Stars website to find one that fits the bill.