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Makeover: “Camping” Oatmeal

My husband grew up calling oatmeal that was pre-flavored in little packets “camping oatmeal.”  I’m not sure if it was a special treat that they only got to eat when camping, or if it was just convenience for camping.

My kids love camping oatmeal.  They especially love the little packets that have dinosaur eggs in them.   Have you tried this flavor?  On the Quaker website, it notes “Dinosaurs may be extinct, but warm up Quaker® Dinosaur Eggs® and fun dinosaur shaped pieces appear right before your eyes! It’s a morning adventure filled with the sweet flavor of brown sugar and 100% whole grain Quaker® oats.”  In the oatmeal are little white “eggs” that dissolve and have small crunchy-sugary-brightly colored dinosaurs within.  Spoiler alert:  dissolving sugar eggs with colorful crunchy dinosaurs do not occur in nature. However, for this “makeover” I wanted to compare apples to apples.  Literally.  Quaker Instant Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal to my homemade versions.

The idea of pre-flavored oatmeal at home isn’t a new one.  Searching for the phrase “make oatmeal packets at home” turns up a variety of  ideas and recipes to try.  The goal of my makeover was to see if I could meet these standards:

  1. move the kids towards whole foods and away from processed foods
  2. lower cost than commercial options
  3. convenient and easy

So let’s see how I did.

Camping Oatmeal: Store vs. Home

 Quaker Instant Oatmeal: Apples and CinnamonDocsKitchen Version: Apples and CinnamonDocsKitchen Version: PB2 and Chocolate ChipDocsKitchen Version: "Mom's Oatmeal"
IngredientsWHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS
SUGAR
DEHYDRATED APPLES (TREATED WITH SODIUM SULFITE TO PROMOTE COLOR RETENTION)
NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR
SALT
CINNAMON
CALCIUM CARBONATE
CITRIC ACID
GUAR GUM
MALIC ACID
NIACINAMIDE*
REDUCED IRON
VITAMIN A PALMITATE
PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE*
RIBOFLAVIN*
THIAMIN MONONITRATE*
FOLIC ACID*
CARAMEL COLOR
1 cup Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp (~6 gm) freeze dried apples
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
2 tbsp PB2 powdered peanut butter
2 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips*
1 cup Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp (~6 gm) freeze dried apples
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp whole chia seeds
1 tbsp flax meal
2 tbsp raisins
Sugars 36g (3 packets)32g
(2g oats)
(5g apples)
(25g brown sugar)
19g
(2g oats)
(1g PB2)
(16g chocolate chips)
35.5g
(2g oats)
(5g apples)
(12.5g brown sugar)
(14g raisins)
Fiber12g (3 packets)9.25g
(8g oats)
(1.25g apples)
10g
(4g oats)
(2g PB2)
21.25g
(8g oats)
(1.25g apples)
(10g chia)
(2g flax)
(2g raisins)
Protein12g (3 packets)10g15g
(10g oats)
(5g PB2)
13.5g
10g (oats)
2g (chia)
1.5g (flax)
$$$$0.75
(box of 10=$2.50)
$1.40
($0.18 oats)
($0.12 cinnamon)
($1.06 apples)
($0.04 brown sugar)
$0.74
($0.18 oats)
($0.41 PB2)
($0.15 choc chips)
$1.78
($0.18 oats)
($0.12 cinnamon)
($1.06 apples)
($0.02 brown sugar)
($0.25 chia seeds)
($0.04 flax meal)
($0.11 raisins)

All of this comparison was REALLY time consuming, but also very informative.  Here’s my takeaway points:

With all of this in mind, here’s what I’d recommend as my “ideal” oatmeal:

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