McDonald’s has added oatmeal to its breakfast menu. Terrific! Who hasn’t been time pinched at breakfast time and looking for a nice healthy option? Not so fast. McDonald’s isn’t doing you (or the environment) any favors with their oatmeal. It’s got chemicals, it’s got disposable packaging. It’s not sustainable by any means, nor is it healthy as they’d have you believe.
Mark Bittman took McDonald’s to task the other day, saying that:
A more accurate description than “100% natural whole-grain oats,” “plump raisins,” “sweet cranberries” and “crisp fresh apples” would be “oats, sugar, sweetened dried fruit, cream and 11 weird ingredients you would never keep in your kitchen.”
(McDonald’s oatmeal) contains more sugar than a Snickers bar and only 10 fewer calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger…
So much for oatmeal being healthy!
Making oatmeal is not hard. It is, in fact, very easy. But let me make it even easier. With this oatmeal hack, all you need to do is boil water. No recipe, no measuring. It’s healthier than Mickey D’s and less wasteful than the little packets of instant oatmeal, and you can tuck it into your purse for a breakfast on the run.
Oatmeal in a Jar
- Pour dry rolled oats (not instant) into a canning jar to the halfway point. I don’t care what size canning jar you use. A half-pint jar will make one serving; a pint jar will make two servings; and a quart will make four servings. You choose what will work best for your situation.
- Add a handful of extras if you’d like: chopped nuts, flax seeds, dried fruit…whatever suits your fancy.
- Add a bit of honey or maple syrup or brown sugar. Top it off with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Pour boiling water into the jar to the bottom of the threads. Screw on lid and invert the jar a couple of times to mix the water with the dry ingredients. Let the jar sit on your counter while you finish getting ready for work or school. Or tuck it into your bag and take it with you for breakfast at your desk. Wherever you let it rest, in 15 minutes it will be ready to eat. Add a little butter or milk if you like.
- Take the jar with you for breakfast on the go or eat it at home.
The texture of oats prepared in this manner is slightly different than oats prepared on the stove top, but the time and energy savings is a fair trade, I think.
If you have a Thermos-type container you can use the same method, though it will be a little harder to gauge your ingredients without measuring. Oats will achieve a texture closer to oatmeal cooked on the stove top, plus, they’ll stay hotter longer.
Note: I buy rolled oats in bulk (25 lbs at a time) from my health food store. That quantity lasts my family of four about 4-5 months. We use it primarily for making granola and granola bars but also for oatmeal and other baking.