Apr 10, 2012 at 9:22 pm #1288564
O.K. here's my breakfast–not because I think that it's so great, but because I'd like to upgrade if possible.
Two packets of whole grain instant oatmeal added to boiling water. At altitude, I let this mixture boil for about 10 seconds. Then I turn off the flame. Then I add two heaping spoonfuls of Kretschmer wheat germ, followed by a handful of dried bananas or dried cranberries. Then I cover this and let sit for several minutes. That's it, except for instant coffee.
I use the instant whole grain oatmeal in packets because I'm lazy and it packs so well inside of a bear canister; also, there's no fuel loss as the cook time is, well, instant. All of the heartier oatmeals seem to require a pretty long boiling time, and I want to save fuel. My compromise has been to add the wheat germ. After all, Dr. Frankenstein brought his monster back to life; so too my delicious Kretschmer, I hope, revitalizes my packaged oatmeal.
But, seriously, can I trust the "whole grain" part of my instant oatmeal; or has processing turned all of the nutrients to mush, so to speak? this last is my biggest concern.
Please critique, advise and add suggestions!Apr 10, 2012 at 11:03 pm #1866009
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Fully cooked oatmeal is pretty healthy, at least in the cholesterol-fighting category. According to my physician, the more fully-cooked and less instant the oatmeal is, the better it works in this regard. However, many backpackers just want some hot calories.
Oatmeal gets pretty boring to me, so I goose it up with something different each day. Typically that would be tiny chips of f.d. peach or mango or cherry.
–B.G.—Apr 10, 2012 at 11:44 pm #1866017
Jeremy and AngelaParticipant
@requiemLocale: Northern California
Pretty much any oatmeal is "whole grain" and I don't see anything to suggest you have to worry about losing nutrients from the processing. However, processing can be expected to increase the glycemic load of the oatmeal (due to loss of fiber). Some brands of instant oatmeal try addressing this by adding fiber (e.g. flax). Alternatively, the link below suggests adding proteins (milk) or fat (nuts).
Your other health concerns would be added sugars or other ingredients, and I'm assuming you've looked already checked the ingredients for that.Apr 11, 2012 at 2:58 am #1866029
@forbes55Locale: Western Australian Desert
I enjoy my porridge on a winter morning and have found that by cooking it at home and drying it, I can reconstitute it easily in a ziploc bag. That way you can get the benefits you want of convenience and nutrition.Apr 11, 2012 at 3:51 am #1866037
@johnjLocale: Orange County, CA
Instant oats are just steam-cooked and dried, which is pretty much the procedure for much backpacking food. The comment from Bob's doctor is interesting. As Jeremy's link says the difference is in glycemic index, and how quickly the oatmeal is broken down.
I've been known to knock back dry instant oats, I'm not sure what that's doing to me.Apr 11, 2012 at 8:04 am #1866090
Commercially made instant oatmeal is just ground finer!!! The issue is that it often has sodium, flavorings and sugar added,
There is NO difference between steel cut and old-fashioned oats in how your body sees the fiber load/ Eat what you prefer. You can make your own by grinding down the old-fashioned oats down a bit! It is easy.
Anyhow, to boost the calories/fat/protein add in dry milk (any type), dry flavorings (powdered vanilla, cinnamon), finely ground nuts or hemp seeds.Apr 11, 2012 at 8:19 am #1866095
@kat_pLocale: Pacific Coast
"There is NO difference between steel cut and old-fashioned oats in how your body sees the fiber load"
I agree that nutritionally the two are almost identical, but there is a difference in how our bodies digest the fiber. Not a very big difference, true, but Steel cut take a little longer to break down. Studies say that the glycemic index is very close between the two. What you eat after the oatmeal, fruit or meat for example, can sit there a little longer behind the steel cut , which can cause gas. Another small difference is the amount of mucilage that you get if you cook the Steel Cut longer, to make it as soft as the rolled oats.
For what it's worth, I like both of them and eat one or the other daily.Apr 11, 2012 at 8:58 am #1866118
Wow, great news about the instant oatmeal! Ray Jardine is pretty scathing about the stuff; but I've hoped that today's whole grain instant is a better quality than what he was eating in the years before he wrote his book. Also, he can be a tad particular about food. Anyway, I'm happy with my system and only wanted to change if people could convince me that non-instant whole grain was significantly better than the instant. My trips tend to be only 5-10 days long, so I have a bit of leeway.Apr 11, 2012 at 9:17 am #1866124Apr 11, 2012 at 10:21 am #1866142
We eat oats in some way nearly every day. Oatmeal done right can be very tasty! I grew up with a dad who liked oats/water and salt – yuuuuucccckkkkkkkk.
I'll admit I prefer old-fashioned oats over steel cut – I just like the texture more. Btw, I buy Bob's Red Mill. They are miles better than Quaker!! The color, the taste……and are cheaper when bought in bulk ( I buy 25 lb bags, we really go through them).
If anyone wants oatmeal recipes check out my personal blog at gazingin.com!Apr 11, 2012 at 10:48 pm #1866425
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Add some granola to your oats or add Craisins, raisins and nuts. Do it every other morning for variety.
EDIT> I have found Trader Joe's instant oatmeal to be much better than Quaker's instant oats and also about 30% more oatmeal per packet.Apr 13, 2012 at 6:41 am #1866808
@flriderLocale: The Southeast
If you're looking for steel cut and instant, McCann's makes a "Quick & Easy" steel cut oatmeal that preps in about six or seven minutes of cozy time (five if you keep it over direct heat). Per the label, it's got 3 grams of fiber (1 insoluble, 2 soluble) per serving (1/4 dry cup; about a cup prepared; 150 calories, less than 1 gram sugar).
Anyway, if you like your oatmeal the consistency of thick porridge (I do), this stuff is great for the trail. Add just a wee bit less than 3/4 cup water per serving, and it'll come out great.
Link to the Wallyworld page: http://www.walmart.com/ip/John-McCann-Quick-Easy-Steel-Cut-Irish-Oatmeal-16-oz/17352589.Apr 13, 2012 at 7:51 am #1866831
I read this last year here on BPL and used it for 21 days straight last summer.
I would put my steel cut oatmeal in a pot, add water, and the lid and go to bed. That would give the oatmeal all night to soak and soften. In the morning I'd firing up my stove and bring it only to a boil. Ready to eat! It works great and takes very little time and fuel.Apr 18, 2012 at 8:36 am #1868549
@harry-nLocale: Western US
I'd just go with oatmeal but if warmer, I bring packets of Grape-Nuts brand cereal repackaged in plastic bags. No bowl needed, just add some milk powder (I just eat them with water). Longer, I'll split between the 2.Apr 18, 2012 at 9:28 am #1868577
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
OP said, "I'd like to upgrade if possible"
Here's a different paradigm: Use the spiffiest whole-grain, organic, macro-biotic, dolphin-safe oats you want and. . . . bake oatmeal cookies. At home. Put in raisins/craisins if you want some fruit to, er, "keep you regular". Sweeten as much or as little as you like (honey, brown sugar, white, maple syrup, whatever). Add that wheat germ if you want. Nuts if you want for the higher calories/gram of their fats. And bake them longer at a lower heat than usual for crispy, dry cookies.
Savings: Fuel weight. Time spent cooking and pot cleaning. Body heat (yes, hot oatmeal in your belly helps a bit, but you lose much more in 20 minutes of making breakfast versus just getting up and hiking and nibbling cookies as you go). Potentially stove and pot weight/bulk if you go with cookless dinners as well.
And if you don't like to cook at home? Trader Joe's Oatmeal/Cranberry "Dunkers" are pretty darn tasty and 180 calories per 1.3 ounce serving (2 cookies). Double that for a light breakfast Quadruple it for a more substanial breakfast (720 calories, 5.2 ounces). Baking your own, you ought to be able to beat that with nuts and healthy oils.
I also like avoiding the big, heavy breakfast all at once. I'll nibble a few while breaking camp, stuff the reminder in my shirt pocket, and eat them over the first few miles of trail.Apr 18, 2012 at 10:51 am #1868623Apr 18, 2012 at 11:21 am #1868641
@edhyattLocale: The North
Not really a huge fan of breakfast first thing on the trail – I find it too hard to eat straight away in the morning for some reason.
I usually drink some powdered oat mix with palatinose then have a more solid (well quite mushy in fact) cereal-based something later on after I have a few miles done. Or I'll nibble bars as above.Apr 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm #1868667
Good points, John and David. But in the Sierra I'm not going to leave oatmeal out overnight–bears, etc. Similarly, I wonder how those cookies will do in my bear canister. I'm mostly using a Bearikade Scout now–if possible–so things get pretty crammed. Again, here's the advantage of pre-packaged oatmeal; it packs small,flat, and is indestructible. Finally, I want my coffee in the morning! HOWEVER, so much is habit/routine; maybe it's time to try something new. I like the cookie idea and it might work!Apr 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm #1868679
Btw, on packaged cookies? You might check out Kashis line – they are quite durable and if they fall apart, no loss!Apr 18, 2012 at 1:21 pm #1868690
Bacon for the win!Apr 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm #1868695Apr 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm #1868847
Thanks Sarah; will do. Say hello to Stehekin and environs for me if you get up there; I miss it. (My grandad's cabin is still there.)Apr 18, 2012 at 8:25 pm #1868856
I so hope to get all my boys up there in the next year or two, so pretty!!Apr 19, 2012 at 9:48 am #1869012
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
I've had really good luck with pemmican for breakfast. I get no hunger for many hours, even doing trail maintenance. Another bar for lunch and I'm good to go until dinner. I purchased the pemmican from US Wellness Meats, the kind without cherries or honey. I want to make my own pemmican soon.
Back in my oatmeal days the best way was to use regular cooking instead of instant oats and put them in the pot with water, dried fruit and nuts, powdered milk and perhaps a little cinnamon. Let it soak overnight. Heat and eat in the morning.Apr 27, 2012 at 6:49 pm #1872013
@thefatboyLocale: St. Louis
>> Here's a different paradigm: Use the spiffiest whole-grain, organic, macro-biotic, dolphin-safe oats you want and. . . . bake oatmeal cookies. At home. Put in raisins/craisins if you want some fruit to, er, "keep you regular". Sweeten as much or as little as you like (honey, brown sugar, white, maple syrup, whatever).
On a scale of 1 to duh, this just pegged my duh-meter! As in, "why didn't I think of that"?! There's nothing in the oatmeal cookies I wouldn't put in my oatmeal in the morning. I do enjoy the hot oats on cold morning, but half of my backpacking is done when it's reasonably hot out, and I find I usually skip the hot oats on those mornings. This might be just about the perfect solution!
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