Alan travels a lot for work, which can present challenges for eating plant-based and healthy. When he’s at home, he eats old-fashioned oats, which he loves. For years, he’s traveled with packets of instant oatmeal to have for breakfasts and meals in a pinch. They are convenient, but not all instant oatmeal packets are vegan, a lot have milk powder, and artificial colorings and flavors, not to mention a lot of added sugar. In addition, we’re picky about our oats, preferring non-GMO, organic oats to reduce our exposure to glyphosphate (the herbicide Roundup). The Environmental Working Group has found levels of glyphopate in the majority non-organic oatmeal products they tested to be higher than what they consider safe, posing an increased cancer risk. You can check their studies out at https://www.ewg.org/childrenshealth/glyphosateincereal/ and https://www.ewg.org/release/roundup-breakfast-part-2-new-tests-weed-killer-found-all-kids-cereals-sampled. And, instant oatmeal packets generate a lot of trash, which we are actively working to reduce. One would think they are just a paper bag and therefore would be recyclable, but no, they are lined with some sort of plastic (check out this hack about cooking your oatmeal right in the baggie https://lifehacker.com/5879863/cook-instant-oatmeal-in-the-packet-when-you-dont-have-a-bowl), which we certainly don’t to expose to our food. So, given all of these things, coming up with a better alternative for Alan’s instant oats was high on the list to find a solution for.
The hardest part of change was not in making the instant oatmeal mix, which I’ll share in a moment, but in the packaging. Alan needs something durable but lightweight and small, something that will easily fit in his computer bag or carry-on for the airplane. A glass jar is too bulky and we aren’t using plastic storage bags anymore. I’d considered sewing up one of my vegan wax wraps, but we didn’t want wax inside of his computer bag or carry-on in case it got warm on the airplane or in the trunk of a rental car. I finally discovered the silicone resealable Stasher bags and decided to give them a try. They come in different sizes and the snack bag size seemed perfect! And it was—it fit perfectly in Alan’s carry-on with no spillage.
For the oatmeal, here’s a little info on what ingredients I use. I use organic quick oats because Alan usually only has a little coffee pot available in his hotel room, no microwave. Quick oats cook up great in a coffee cup with hot water from a coffee maker (truth be told, he often uses hot coffee to cook his oats half the time!). Use whatever dried fruit you want, or omit. I’d rather use fruit than adding sugar. Flax adds healthy omega fatty acids, which we should eat every day. Adding it to morning oatmeal gets your daily dose of omega fatty acids done first thing so you don’t have to worry about it later. You could exchange ground chia seeds or hemp. For milk, I use Wilderness Family Naturals powdered coconut milk, but you can use other powdered plant-based milks, such as soy. I bought the powdered coconut milk a while ago for our trip to Iceland because Wilderness Family Naturals had small labeled resealable
sample bags that I thought would go through security better than unmarked baggies of white powder! Finally, I put in a little coconut sugar, but you can use other dry sweetener of choice or omit, and cinnamon.
Alan loves this instant oatmeal, in fact, he likes it better than the packaged stuff we used to get at the store. It’s fresher and tastier than what we used to buy. We hope you love it too!
Trimazing! Instant Oatmeal
- 2 cups organic quick oats
- 1/4 cup organic raisins or dried cranberries, dates, apples, other fruit)
- 3 tbsp ground flax
- 2 tbsp coconut or soy milk powder you can find online or in bulk section
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar or other dry sweetener, add more to taste
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Mix all together and store in a sealed container. To use, add 1/3 cup of oatmeal mix to a cup or bowl and add 3/4 cup of boiling water. Stir and let stand 2 minutes before eating.
Cindy Thompson, MS, is a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator; an American Council on Exercise certified Health Coach, Peer Fitness Trainer, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist; Tilth Alliance Soil and Water Steward; 5 Gyres Ambassador; and retired fire captain and paramedic. She provides health and lifestyle coaching at Trimazing! Vegan Lifestyle & Health Coaching. Cindy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.