Healthy, Homemade Gifts: Hearty Gourmet Oatmeal

By , SparkPeople Blogger
In the middle of winter, when the mercury's dropping and the snow is piling up outside, is there anything more comforting than a bowl of oatmeal?

Judging from your answers last week, most of you agree with me. Plain old oatmeal becomes a tedious breakfast rather quickly, but the fancy flavored versions are pricey and full of artificial flavors.

Thankfully, making your own gourmet oatmeal is easy. Flavored oatmeal makes a great gift for the busy professional, a time-strapped mom or anyone who says there's no time for a healthy breakfast.

Stepfanie's Oatmeal Mix
6 cups old-fashioned or steel-cut oats
3/4 c ground flax seeds
3 T cinnamon
1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
Mix all ingredients together. Makes 12 servings (about 3/4 cup each)
Store in the refrigerator as flax seeds and walnuts can spoil quickly.

Nutrition info
Number of Servings: 12
Calories: 329
Total Fat: 15.3 g* (This is mostly heart-healthy fats from the walnuts and flaxseed, both of which contain Omega-3 fatty acids.)
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 1.2 mg
Total Carbs: 44.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.8 g
Protein: 8.9 g

Divide the oatmeal into single servings (1 cup food storage containers work great for this) or deliver the gift in a decorative cookie jar. Personalize this as you'd like. Swap almonds, pumpkin seeds or pecans for the walnuts; use raisins, dried pineapple or some apple rings instead of cranberries. If you prefer sweetened oatmeal: Add cocoa powder and a bit of sugar, toss in some brown sugar or give a bottle of real maple syrup to supplement the gift. You can also use barley, cracked wheat, wheat germ or oat bran.

Bonus: Buy the materials for this oatmeal from the bulk bins at the grocery store to save more money.

How do you top your oatmeal?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


i love oatmeal with peanut butter, half a banana, tsp of splenda and a dash of cinnamon. another great idea is pumpkin puree with pumpkin pie spice. smells just like pumpkin pie while its cooking. Report
My morning oatmeal often feels like the healthiest thing I do all day: 1 serving of Quaker's quick-oats (1/3 c) with a sprinkling of sea salt (I don't have high blood pressure so I usually have a very generous sprinkle), and, after I microwave it with 2/3c. of water I add 1tsp extra-virgin olive-oil. It's filling, full of fiber, and has great cholesterol-lowering properties. Occasionally, I treat myself to a sweet (and less healthy) morning of 1/3c. quick-oats with 1/3c. water ad 1/3c. almond milk and around 1 tbsp maple syrup. Yum!! Report
My favorite oat toppings are unsweetened cocoa, stevia, flaxmeal, coconut shavings, and pecans. I also have made a strawberry shortcake version, with smashed strawberries and I whip up a tablespoon of low fat cream cheese with some greek yogurt and a little stevia, and add that on top. YUM.

Oatmeal is my FAVORITE breakfast. I actually recently did a 30-day oatmeal challenge. You can check out my 30 oatmeal recipes here, if you are interested:

Been using Quaker Oats for a few years now and add 8 gms. protein powder,
plus tsp cinnamon and 1/2 C frozen blueberries. Yummmmm good way to start
the day!! Report
When I was growing up, I'd eat oatmeal with brown sugar. Over the last few weeks, I've eaten oatmeal with lowfat cottage cheese and a chopped banana every day. I used to add in flavored yogurt as well, but I think the cottage cheese and banana are yummy enough! Report
My homemade granola's almost identical to DLROSE51's. I replenish a clear gallon container with: old-fashioned oats, raisins, almonds, craisins, mixed nuts, whey, a little creatine. Instead of pot-cooking, I just nuke a bowl of that granola and water, then add my ground flaxseeds. I don't like to nuke the flaxseeds because their anti-oxidants are fragile. Sometimes I'll chop up some apple or pear into it, too. Report
I love oatmeal with brown sugar and a tsp of butter but the carbs are out of this world....should I not be concerned with the carbs? Are they good carbs or bad carbs? I'm not really focusing on the word diet right now but more on eating better but still the carbs are scary. Report
I eat oatmeal everyday too!!.. I make my own also.. I get a two quart sause pan cut up two apples & two pears,cinniamin,vanilla,let that boil up then I add ground flaxseed let that simmer then I add two-three cups whole toasted oats let that cook up then when done.Put a cup or so in a bowl- I grind up 1/4 cup almonds put that on top of the oatmeal mix then to sweeten it up I use sugar-free maple syrup...This is what I eat everyday..sometimes with egg whites..(On side)..I make enought to last me a few days.. Report
Flax Seeds need to be ground to have any benefit. I buy them as whole seeds, they are cheaper that way. If you keep them in the refrigerator they will keep for quite some time. I grind a couple of tablespoons at a time with my little coffee grinder.
hmm love oatmeal. brown sugar and butter Report
I make a similar breakfast to this every day. I have 1/2 cup of old fashion oats, 10 gm each of almonds, walnuts, & dried cranberries, 1 medium to large diced apple, 4 oz of diet pomegranate cranberry juice, 1 tbsp of ground flax seed, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp each of cloves, allspice, & nutmeg. It has over 2 servings of fruit and a serving of whole grains, is loaded with omega fatty acids and fiber, and tastes great. Report
For years, in grade school, my mother had me to the doctor's office frequently because I got sick every morning. She fed me oatmeal with milk and brown sugar (
and juice) every morning. My body still can't handle that combination in the morning. I CAN eat it like that for dinner (but no juice, please).. So it was with great trepidation that I tried reintroducing oatmeal into my life after a morning workout (I figured that at least by then my system would be awake enough that it might be able to cope). I make several servings of this at a time so I can just nuke as needed: to the water, I add vegan boullion cubes, chopped onion, some salt or tamari and a good bit of poultry seasoning. After that has boiled about a minute (to soften the onion), I stir in the old fashioned oats, return to boil about 30 seconds, then turn off and leave sit for about 30 minutes. Sometimes I add crushed red pepper flakes. This savory version works much better for me in the morning. Report
Wonderful idea! My work buddies and I are getting healthy for our New Year's resolution. I can't wait to give this as a gift, in a nice mason jar with a material square over the lid and a raffia bow. I'll put the directions on a pretty tag, attach it with a ribbon and we're good to go! Report
I have oatmeal almost every day for breakfast, and sometimes in the afternoon and evening. I add a scoop of protein powder (balances the carbs in the oatmeal) and a scoop of sugar-free orange flavored Metamucil or Citrucel (adds fiber and keeps me full longer). Favorite add-ins include raisins, vanilla extract, juice and sections of an orange, peanut butter, nuts, flax seed. It's fast and easy. Mix oatmeal, protein powder, fiber, nuts, any dry additives in a bowl. Microwave 1 & 1/3 cup water with raisins for two minutes, stir in a bit of flavor extract and a few drops of Stevia then pour over bowl. Stir and let sit til cool enough to eat. Cooks the oatmeal and thickens up into a nice filling meal that will last for 4-5 hours. Report
That's a fun idea, whether you make it for yourself and your family or you give it as a gift. Oatmeal is such a great food in the winter time...I don't know what I'd do without it! :D Report
What a perfect time to come along. We don't have oatmeal to often, but we have already agreed tonight that we would have it for breakfast tomorrow because it is so stinkin cold outside.

I have tried peanut butter and nuts and mashed bananas (all at separate times)in my oatmeal, but I am not a big fan. I am a chocoholic but never thought about some of the chocolate ideas. I will now however, so thanks for the suggestion. Normally it is just the "old fashion" way of brown sugar and raisins with a tad bit of milk.

I am making jarred gifts for christmas right now, but I never would of thought of oatmeal. I might now though, so again, thanks for the idea. Report
I add pumpkin pie spice and sunflower seeds, a smidgen of sugar and a drip of milk. I like it thick and not too sweet. When I make it at work, the whole office smells good. Report
eating oatmeat is how i start my day Report
Wow! Thanks for all the good ideas! Report
My favorite add-in is dried blueberries, added when I start to heat the water. Report
Actually, I can eat oatmeal plain if I get make the old fashioned Quaker kind. But when I'm feeling fancy, I'll add raisins and cranberries with some milk. I do not like the steel cut oats though. The texture throws me off. Report
Thanks for the great recipe and the gift giving idea.
I usually don't eat oatmeal for breakfast but that sounds really good. Report
I put raisins in the slightly salted water before bringing it to a boil and adding the oats to cook. Plumps the raisins right up! Report
oops, looks like the price of oatmeal had already been brought up by someone else right before me! Report
I'm so glad to find more oatmeal enthusiasts. On a day when I have some calories to "spare" (or once I reach my goal weight and am maintaining!) I will have to try this. Never had flax seed before.
I'm not sure if anyone else has said this about oatmeal, but it is SO CHEAP, especially when the price of cold cereal (and milk) keeps going up and up. I eat oatmeal every morning for breakfast during the week, and the containers I buy last me almost 2 months, and they're around $2 if I buy generic. That's a little over $0.03 a serving! Report
Bad gift idea?

You know, some of us are in big financial troubles. I have at the moment no source of income.

I can't even afford to make this oatmeal to give as gifts.

I do eat oatmeal myself. It is one of the least expensive things I can fix for breakfast. I make it with powdered milk made up with water in place of the water to increase the protein. When it is cooked I add a little bit of margarine and brown sugar.

In the past I loved oatmeal with walnuts, dates and raisins, so I made my own oatmeal and added these. I can't afford these ingredients now though.

Old fashion oatmeal that takes a few minutes on the stove to cook is far superior to those packets of instant oatmeal. If any of you kind of like oatmeal but it is not something you prefer, you might try making it with the old fashion oatmeal. The oatmeal comes out so much better made this way. Report
The "Tightwad Mother" Amy Dycyzcyn use to buy 50# bags of oatmeal to feed her children. I can't seem to use up a regular box of Quaker's. LOL Report
My favorite is regular cook oatmeal, topped with a small spoonful of sugar and ice cold milk. Sometimes I substitue brown sugar or add a handful of raisins. Warm on the inside makes me toasty on the outside! Report
Thanks for this GREAT idea Report
I like to cook my oatmeal with milk and raisins. After it is cooked I splurge and but a teaspoon of margarine and brown sugar. I love oatmeal cooked this way. Report
a lot of carbs Report
I like to add 2 T of Craisins, cinnamon, cloves and brown sugar. (It doesn't take but a teaspoon of Brown Sugar) Sometimes I add a tablespoon of chopped walnuts. Report
that is a great idea, I will give this to my pastor's family as I know breakfast is a challenge for them. Thanks Report
I cook steel cut oats on the stove top and just before it's done, I stir in 2 egg whites and 1 scoop of whey protein powder, 1 tbsp. wheat germ, fresh ground flax seed ( I store whole flax seed in a small glass jar in fridge and grind it as needed) 1/2 tsp. vanilla, ground cinnamon and just enough warm non-fat milk to get it the right consistency. Report
I top mine with cinnamon, brown sugar, and raisins. Report
This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing that! Report
I cook it with applesauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, and dried cranberries. And only the thick-cut oats for me. Report
And how would you prepare this? On the stove? - not in the MW, right? Report
If you're concerned about adding flax seed, add a note to the gift telling the recipient to keep the oatmeal in the refrigerator. I eat oatmeal daily, so 12 servings of oatmeal would be gone in less than 2 weeks. Report
I agree about the concern of adding ground flax seed because it can go rancid so quickly. When I have it on hand, I add it but wouldn't include it in a mix that I was planning to keep around for awhile. The whole seeds are also good and don't go bad so fast. To my oatmeal, I like to add wheat bran to increase the fiber content.

Any dried fruit works for mem too. Right now, we're adding dried cherries that are quite tart but very yummy. Report
This concerns me, because ground flax goes rancid sooo fast... Report
I usually eat oatmeal every morning too. I cook mine with Splenda, cinnamon, and some vanilla extract. These other options sound good even though they add calories. I'm going to try them out to break up the monotony of the way I cook it. Report
I add various items to steel cut oatmeal:
Chopped dried apricots
frozen dark cherries
Dried strawberries with walnuts
With the fruit there is no need for a sweetener. Report
That's not oatmea;. That's trail mix. Report
this time of year my oatmeal's usually pretty basic - splenda, cinnamon and some fresh nutmeg. when i've got calories to spare i'll add a serving of craisins. when blueberries are in season, though, i add a serving of those. so good! Report
To each serving of old fashioned oatmeal (Quaker) I add 1 tablespoon of the Splenda brown sugar mix and 1/4 cup raisins. I use 1/3 cup 2% milk and 1/3 cup water. Microwave it for 2.5-3 minutes. Stir in just a tad more milk depending on how thick you like it. yummy to the tummy. Report
To each serving of old fashioned oatmeal (Quaker) I add 1 tablespoon of the Splenda brown sugar mix and 1/4 cup raisins. I use 1/3 cup 2% milk and 1/3 cup water. Microwave it for 2.5-3 minutes. Stir in just a tad more milk depending on how thick you like it. yummy to the tummy. Report
To each serving of old fashioned oatmeal (Quaker) I add 1 tablespoon of the Splenda brown sugar mix and 1/4 cup raisins. I use 1/3 cup 2% milk and 1/3 cup water. Microwave it for 2.5-3 minutes. Stir in just a tad more milk depending on how thick you like it. yummy to the tummy. Report
To each serving of old fashioned oatmeal (Quaker) I add 1 tablespoon of the Splenda brown sugar mix and 1/4 cup raisins. I use 1/3 cup 2% milk and 1/3 cup water. Microwave it for 2.5-3 minutes. Stir in just a tad more milk depending on how thick you like it. yummy to the tummy. Report
Close email sign up
Our best articles, delivered Join the millions of people already subscribed Get a weekly summary of our diet and fitness advice We will never sell, rent or redistribute your email address.

Magic Link Sent!

A magic link was sent to Click on that link to login. The link is only good for 24 hours.