Work/life balance: healthy diy instant oats

I'm rather excited - for some reason it's just occurred to me to write a series of posts on my work/life balance. Not my struggle with that, as i'm sure it's something most working mums (and stay-at-home mums too) know only too well, but rather anything i've found that helps me maximise my time and organisation without costing too much. Hopefully these tips will help you as well.

My first post in the series will be a breakfast shortcut: instant microwaveable porridge/oatmeal. I came across it on Pinterest and thought it'd be fantastic. The ones we can buy in the shops cost around 58c each, so not overly expensive, but not as much range and not as tasty/good for you as ones you can make yourself. Plus they're full of sugar. I normally have a spoonful of golden syrup on top of my porridge, but if there's fruit in it i can make do with a teaspoon of raw sugar sprinkled over the top for a bit of sweet crunch.

The basic plain DIY instant oats cost 23c per serve (including the plastic baggie which is reusable anyway), so far cheaper than the plain shop bought oats and full of the extra goodness of chia and linseed (flax). From here though is where it differs, and it really depends on the fruits/nuts you add. My cheapest addition for this batch was the apple date and cinnamon flavour at 17c per serve (so a total of 40c per serve), and the most expensive was strawberry and coconut at 66c per serve (with a total cost of 89c per serve). I haven't tasted these yet so may find that i can do with less fruit, for example instead of 1/4 cup of dried strawberries i may prefer it with 1/8 cup, which would also reduce the cost (to 66c total).

Costings for homemade $3.87 (23c per serve):
570g of quick cooking oats (from Woolies homebrand 750g packet at $1.28) - $0.92
8 tbsp chia - $2.13
4 tbsp linseed (ground) - $0.17
17 snack bags - $0.65

Strawberry and coconut $2.65 (66c per serve):
dried strawberries - $1.83
coconut chips - $0.82
Blueberry, cranberry and vanilla $2.34 (59c per serve):
blueberries - $1.38
cranberries - $0.66
vanilla essence - $0.30
Apple, date and cinnamon $0.86 (17c per serve):
dried apple - $0.57
dried dates - $0.19
cinnamon - $0.10
Apricot, almond and chocolate $1.86 (47c per serve):
dried apricots - $0.43
flaked almonds - $0.43
cacao nibs - $0.58
dark chocolate chips - $0.42

DIY Instant Oatmeal

6 cups instant oats
8 tbsp chia seeds
4 tbsp ground flax seeds (linseed)


Measure 2 cups of the oats into a food processor and process to a coarse powder. Pour into a large bowl and mix in the rest of the oats, the chia seeds and the ground flax seeds.

Separate evenly into as many bowls as you have different flavours (i did four here). Add the fruit/nuts and mix well.

Strawberry and coconut: i added a mix of sweet Indonesian shredded coconut and coconut chips (1/4 cup altogether), and 1/4 cup chopped dried strawberries. Freeze dried would be really nice too, but it's expensive to have delivered here in Perth (and there's only one shop i could find that's an hour return trip).

Blueberry, cranberry and vanilla: 1/8 cup each of the dried berries and 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence.

Apple, date and cinnamon: 1/4 cup each of chopped dried apple and chopped dried dates, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon.

Apricot, almond and chocolate: 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots, 1/8 cup flaked almonds, toasted in a hot pan until they started to brown, 1/8 cup cacao nibs and 1/8 cup dark chocolate drops.

(and yes i realise now i measured them out in a 1/3 size cup instead of 1/4... they weren't full, and next time i make them i would use a 1/4 cup, to reduce the cost.)

Prepare the snack size bags by writing the flavour on them (it's easier to write when they're unfilled), and then add 1/3 cup of the oat mix to each bag, and seal them.

Nutrition info below is for the unflavoured oats mix.

Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving


72.9 kcal
Water70.78 g
Carbohydrate* (60%)10.59 g
Protein (14%)2.95 g
Total Fat (26%)2.28 g
   Monounsaturated0.48 g
   Polyunsaturated1.31 g
   Saturated0.27 g
Cholesterol0 mg
Dietary Fibre2.79 g
Alcohol (0%)0 g
Vitamin A0 IU
Thiamin0.09 mg
Riboflavin0.02 mg
Niacin0.15 mg
Pantothenic acid0.21 mg
Vitamin B60.05 mg
Folate11.15 mcg
Vitamin B120 mcg
Vitamin C0.04 mg
Vitamin E0.09 mg ATE
Calcium22.35 mg
Iron0.74 mg
Magnesium30.04 mg
Phosphorus92.03 mg
Potassium68.05 mg
Sodium2.09 mg
Zinc0.58 mg
Copper0.08 mg

*Note: USDA factors are used in calculating certain foods and do not necessarily follow the "4-4-9" method. Percentages may not always add up to 100.
Data source: USDA Nutrient Database, R17

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