Things I don't buy: breakfast cereal

I happened to walk down the cereal aisle in the grocery store recently, and almost fell over.  I couldn't believe the prices!  How do families with growing children afford to buy cereal?  And why do they?

Because that is another thing I don't buy, and haven't bought in a while.  Even then, for years all I ever bought was granola.  I've posted before about homemade granola, but my winter choice is, of course, oatmeal. 

Steel-cut oats topped with dehydrated blueberries from last summer and sweetened with local maple syrup.

Specifically, steel-cut oats.  They are chewier and nuttier than rolled oats, but rolled oats are good too.  Both are better than those packets of oatmeal, which, while the ingredients aren't too bad, are so expensive when compared to making your own.  If you like your oatmeal on the go, you can actually make your own instant packets, or just make some in the morning and take it with you in a wide-mouthed thermos. 

Steel-cut oats range from $0.30/100 g at the bulk store to $0.70/100 g for store-bought organic, but even at the highest price, that works out to around 22 cents for a quarter cup serving (about 1 cup cooked).  Even if you are a big breakfast eater, and double that amount, it's still under 50 cents.  Of course, that doesn't include the additions. But if you stock up on cheap, in-season fruit in the summer, the cost isn't that high - and the flavour!  Dehydrated strawberries are my current favourite - it's a little hit of summer every morning :)  The fruit also adds some sweetness, and of course, you can always swap the maple syrup for cheaper honey or sugar. All told, it's still under, WAY under, $1.00 per serving. 

Yes, oatmeal takes time to cook.  And yes, you do have to stir it occasionally. But soaking overnight cuts down on the cooking time, and some people even use their slow cooker, and have breakfast ready for them in the morning.  I've tried neither of these methods, since I can easily work the 30 minute cooking time into my routine, especially on weekends.  I have even made a large batch, and used the microwave to re-heat the leftovers.  You have to add a bit more liquid, but it works fine for those busy mornings.

Cheap, healthy, tasty and filling - you can't ask for more from a breakfast cereal! And you certainly won't find any of that in a processed breakfast cereal. 

I use a 4:1 or higher ratio of water to oats, since I like mine on the thin side, and I don't add milk before eating. I add the dehydrated fruit in the last 5-10 minutes of cooking. 


  1. I cook my steel cut oats in the slow cooker, overnight. Easy-peasy.

    I also have been known to mix in other grains from time to time: quinoa, millet, amaranth, etc. for a bit of variety.

  2. Good to know it does work - thanks! My only slow cooker is huge, so I don't know if this would work for me. I think I need to keep my eye out for a small one on sale!

    And I might try that with the different grains - thanks!



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