If you’ve been on my Instagram, you know I often eat oatmeal as a weekday breakfast. I’ve tried many variations, and discovered that some are way better than others. Hence this post! I wanted to tell you a bit more about oatmeal, how to prepare it easily, and what to top if off with – all while eating on a budget!
Gluten free, healthy and cheap: oatmeal is one of the cheapest cereals there is. It scores well on the glycemix index (unlike all sort of sugar coated rice puffs etc in the regular cereals), making it suitable for those struggling with metabolic syndrome or diabetes type 2. It is rich in fiber, providing 20% of needed daily value in only one portion. The real version of oatmeal is gluten free, so be on a lookout in your supermarket or health store. I prefer gluten free because gluten is an allergen to the intestines (it’s just that some people react to it more than others, hence only some have the ‘diagnosis’ gluten intolerance).
Easy and dairy free: the best oatmeal I’ve ever had is the one that’s also the easiest to prepare. I place a portion of dry oatmeal in a bowl, add enough boiling water to the bowl to just cover all the oatmeal, let stand for a few minutes and – it’s the perfect oatmeal! No stirring needed or hanging around the stove early in the morning when your eyes aren’t even open yet!
Great Additions to Oatmeal
Seeds are your friends: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, line seeds and chia seeds all contain fibre and a great amount of minerals that your body needs. Adding them to your cereal/oatmeal is a great step towards making your body healthier! Plus, they make your oatmeal nice and crunchy! If you are using chia seeds, add them to dry oatmeal so they get soaked in water too (chia seeds can absorb 10x the water volume of their size, so if you don’t soak them, they will end up taking hydration from inside your body!!!).
Berries are awesome: dried and naturally sweetened goji berries, cranberries, mulberries, raisins – you name it! If it’s a berry and if it’s naturally sweetened, it’s good for you!
Coconut flakes: raw coconut flakes are made simply by rasping raw coconut flesh, which means they contain enzymes and minerals present in fresh coconuts! Adding raw coconut flakes to your oatmeal is like adding an exotic undertone to your whole day. Many people also adore the taste of coconut – these magic flakes give you just that!
Raw fruit: whether it’s a ripe banana, a juicy apple, a gorgeous pear, a delicious peach or any other seasonal fruit, you can add it to your oatmeal! Be creative and add whatever you like!
Honey: if you want to further sweeten your oatmeal, you can add a spoonful of raw honey.
Nuts: I find walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts and almonds especially satisfying in an oatmeal. I chop a couple of walnuts and a couple of pecans, or I might just add a few hazelnuts. Walnuts can be bitter, so I tend to mix them up with another nut rather than only adding walnuts to my oatmeal. Be creative, use what you like, but remember – peanuts are not nuts and also are not that healthy for you!
Cinnamon: cinnamon is a spice that most of us find very comforting. 1/2 a small teaspoon is enough to bring the aroma and benefits to your oatmeal. Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar levels and helps prevent against heart disease.
Cost of ingredients
I know that eating healthy can get pricey. Here are a few tips. It’s best to buy all the funky ingredients separately because this will save you a lot of money. In Europe, raw organic coconut flakes cost about E1,50 for 100grams (lots of flakes!). Sunflower seeds and line seeds are the cheapest of the seeds category, at about E1,00 per 100grams. Pumpkin seeds cost around E1,50 for 100grams, as do chia seeds. 100grams of these seeds will go a long way – if you use a small handful every morning you’ll still have enough for about a month. Buy your dried berries and seeds at a nut specialist store, they will be the cheapest there as well as being the best quality! Dried berries tend to be more expensive than seeds. Watch out to get the naturally sweetened kind! Usually berries go for about E2,00 per 100grams. I purchase nuts at a nut specialist store as well (it really pays to find a good nut specialist store that you can go to!). Walnuts and pecans go for about E4,00 for 250grams, while 250grams of hazelnuts might cost you about E3,00.
For 1 month of endless and delicious oatmeal variations you might need:
Gluten-free oatmeal: 1Kg (E5,00)
Chia seeds: 50g (E1,00)
Line seeds: 50g (E1,00)
Walnuts & pecans mix: 100g (E2,50)
Hazelnuts: 50g (E1,00)
Sunflower & pumpkin seeds mix: 100g (E2,50)
Fruit: one piece on every other day (E7,00 depending on the fruit, this is counting the more and less expensive kinds together)
Dried berries: 100grams (E2,00)
*Cinnamon: prices vary greatly, let’s say 20grams (E0,50)
Which brings you to a total cost of E22,50 per month for a wholesome, varied, crunchy, super healthy, kinda fun, cholesterol-free, hormone-balancing, blood-sugar regulating, very powerful breakfast each day! Considering that regular milk goes for about E1,00 per liter and commercial cereals easily cost more than E2,00 for only 300grams, while they don’t provide you with any nutrients and don’t keep you feeling full, I think this super powerful and healthy breakfast can definitely fit into the budget of those who are hoping to have a healthier breakfast alternative!