March 27, 2019
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If the idea of eating oatmeal for breakfast while backpacking seems boring, this blog post is for you. Many people’s experience of eating oatmeal is limited to sugary packages of instant oatmeal. These commercial products, although very convenient, tend to be high in added sugars and low in protein and although they do contain some fiber, hunger is waiting for you at the next corner. Indeed, in my experience, they do not provide a lot of satiety. Being hungry an hour after eating breakfast is not fun. But, there are ways to improve this. Read on to know how to make your own satisfying, nutritious and delicious oatmeal recipes.
What to look for to make filling homemade oatmeal recipes?
Select your oats
Any oatmeal recipe needs … oatmeal! Look for quick oats or 1-minute oats, if you want to only pour boiling water on top. If you don’t mind cooking your oats on the trail, then old-fashioned oats are your best bet. I find that ½ cup (125 ml) of uncooked oats (150 calories) is a good serving quantity-wise, but feel free to adapt based on your appetite. Obviously, this is not enough calories, so make sure you add plenty of energy-dense ingredients (see below) to boost this calorie count.
Get proteins in there
Adding a high-protein ingredient will not only provide you with more proteins in your diet, a valued nutrient in the backcountry, but also make your meal more filling. Skim milk powder and whole milk powder offers high-quality protein. With about 9g of protein per ¼ cup (60 ml) serving, this makes it an interesting addition. Protein powders (whey or plant-based) can also be used. Some have added flavors and sweeteners and some don’t. Up to you to choose.
High Fats, High Calories!
Incorporating high fat ingredients is the best way to boost the calorie content of your recipe without increasing weight or volume too much. Coconut milk powder, seeds (I like pumpkin and chia seeds the most), and nuts are all good sources that can be pre-mixed with the other oatmeal ingredients. In addition, seeds and nuts will provide a nice “crunch” to your breakfast, improving the texture without a doubt! Nut or peanut butter and coconut oil can be packed in a separate container and added to the recipe on the trail.
Get your fruits in!
Try different types of dehydrated and freeze-dried fruits to add a variety of flavors and nutrients to your oatmeal breakfasts. Your local grocery store can be a good source of inspiration.
Make it just enough sweet
Based on your tastes, you might prefer your oatmeal more or less sweet. Personnally, I find that 1 tbsp (15ml) per serving of sugar, maple sugar, brown sugar or maple syrup is just enough, but it’s up to you. I also prefer to use sweeteners made of carbohydrates, instead of the sugar-free ones and this for multiple reasons. But in a nutshell, let’s say that these few extra calories can be precious fuel on the trail!
Never get bored
The only limit to oatmeal recipes is your imagination. Try different flavors to prevent getting bored. Here are some lightweight ingredients that have the potential to transform totally your oatmeal breakfast: cinnamon, cocoa powder, nutmeg, peppermint candy canes, chocolate candies, pumpkin spices and coconut flakes. Do you want some inspiration for true delicious oatmeal recipes? Check out these ones: Choco Banana Oatmeal, Raspberry and Cocoa Nibs Oatmeal and Blueberry Pecan Oatmeal.
Start your day on the right foot, with oatmeal!
By Gen Masson, MSc, RD, CD