Oats, the Queen of Breakfasts

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image by Micah Sittig

My kids aren’t too picky about what they eat for breakfast.  Just this morning my 9-year-old son was eating a package of saimin soup, dry.  Yeah, it’s not my cup of tea, either.  Daughter ate a bowl of Cheerios, with plenty of sugar added, and will be content with that for at least ten-fifteen minutes or so.  Usually, breakfast is the easiest meal for stocking up, but I’d like to suggest, for food storage, you consider meals that are hearty, filling, and nutritious.  Cheerios and dry saimin won’t cut it.

My favorite breakfast for storage is either oatmeal or granola.  Both can be “adjusted to taste” by adding nuts, dried fruit, honey, and many other possible additions. Even if your kids aren’t big fans of oatmeal and granola, surely there’s a customized version that will make them happy.

How much should I store?

Calculate how much each family member eats in a typical breakfast, keep track of the various add-ins and come up with a total per breakfast.  When you multiply those amounts by thirty, you’ll know just how much to stock up on for a full months-worth of breakfasts.  Here’s the tally for the four of us in our family — enough to last a month.

Oatmeal:  60 cups (1/2 c. per person, per day)

Brown sugar:  8 cups (1 T. per person, per day)

Raisins:  8 cups (1 T. per person, per day)

Walnuts:  2 cups  (1 T. for 30 days – I’m the only one who likes walnuts.)

Sometimes I pour a bit of milk over our oatmeal, and for variety, replace raisins with the same amount of chopped, dried apricots or apples. For an amazing breakfast, try Tropical Baked Oatmeal French Toast. It is like having breakfast on a tropical island.


Have you ever heard of oat groats? They are the whole grains of the oat. It includes the cereal germ, the bran portion and the endosperm of the grain. You may have heard of steel-cut oats. They are the groat, coarsely cut. Because the groat is a bit hard and difficult to chew, it is best to soak them before eating. You can make oatmeal with them, but they also do well in soups. You can roast them and intensify their flavor. Learn more about groats, their nutritional value, and recipes here. Here is a cinnamon oat groat slow cooker oatmeal recipe that you can prepare the night before.  

Here are more tips for using oats-

  1. When oatmeal becomes tiresome, and it will, fortunately, you can use many of the same ingredients to make homemade granola.
  2. Another break from oatmeal is a different hot cereal with similar toppings.
  3. Use an online conversion tool to figure ingredient totals.
  4. Be sure to have a breakfast option that doesn’t require cooking for those power-outage mornings.
  5. Use oats and a few baking ingredients to make a loaf of nutritious breakfast bread or muffins for another change.
  6. Experiment with different versions of oatmeal – steel-cut, oat groats, or a multi-grain mix.
  7. Quick oats have their place in food storage, although rolled oats are preferred for their additional fiber and nutrition.  Quick oats are handy for days when heating up some water is the only way a hot breakfast is going to happen.
  8. To store oats long-term, use cleaned out 2-liter soda bottles, mylar bags, or buckets, and one or two oxygen absorbers in each.  Keep the oats in a cool, dry, and dark location.

Share your oatmeal recipes and favorite add-ins with us!

22 thoughts on “Oats, the Queen of Breakfasts”

  1. GoneWithTheWind

    Based on your pictures you should call it breakfast fruit with oats. I grew up eating oatmeal for breakfast and we rarely had anything other then milk and sugar to put in it. I have tried roasting a handful of rolled oats and putting some of that into the pot along with the uncooked oats. Gives it a different flavor and texture. Now I eat it heated in the microwave. It doesn't cook as much and is more chewy which I like better. But we also ate rice for breakfast. Usually it was left over from the night before but sometimes we would cook up a bowl of rice for breakfast. Just like oatmeal we would put milk and sugar on it. Oddly I do remember raisins in the rice (but never in the oatmeal).

  2. I make a concoction my sister dreamed up. 1/3 c oatmeal, 2/3 c water, hand full of frozen blueberries, and some chopped walnuts. I nuke this for about a minute in a deep cereal bowl to melt the blueberries (a bowl that seems right for the amount of food is too shallow and it boils over while cooking). Stir to mix in the bluebies, then nuke a couple more minutes. Stir in some yogurt to cool it off and make it creamy. Add some honey of it isn't sweet enough for you. Yum!

  3. LOL, we put a pat of butter and a little sugar on ours, growing up. Lisa, yours does look tasty, makes me want some oatmeal and fruit! Thanks for all you do!

  4. I go the simple route. Take one bowl of oatmeal, add various freeze dried fruits and a touch of brown sugar, pour boiling water over it, stir and let sit for a minute.

    Most mornings I add a couple of tablespoons of freshly ground flax seed. Doesn't taste the best, but does wonders for the digestive tract and adds Omega-3s.

    Quick and easy

  5. Try Freeze dried bananas and freeze dried strawberries…YUM!

    I also grew up having 1/2 tsp maple extract added to oatmeal, raisins, dash of cinnamon and brown sugar or honey. Oh, and the obligatory smidge of salt….which I sometimes forget even after all these years…how do you spell 'blecchhh'?!

  6. You can't ever go wrong with peanut butter mixed in with the oats! But my new obsession: frozen peaches, chopped walnuts and pure maple syrup = heaven!

  7. I love just a little brown sugar, raisins, and a nice amount of cinnamon. That with a slighly "al-dente" oatmeal is awesome.

    But, for work breakfasts, I just use a quaker instant, and add my own cinnamon. Not as good, but it works. And is often found on markdown shelves at local grocery stores.

  8. Can you store Old Fashioned Oats unopened in their original container or does it need to be a plastic bottle? And how long will they last in either of these storage methods?

    1. Store the oats in plastic food safe containers. Two-liter soda bottles that have been cleaned out with hot water and a bit of soap work great for this. Oats have a lot longer shelf life than does the cardboard container they come in.

  9. I have oatmeal every day for breakfast . . .you say that's not unusual . . .well . . .here is how I eat it . I take my Pampered Chef Microwave covered pan and add 1/2 whole oats, 1 cup water and a dash of salt. Cook for two minutes. I then add 1 tsp butter and hot sauce to taste . . . yes . .I said it . . hot sauce. I know you all are probably thinking GROSS but it's so good and a different twist to oatmeal 🙂

    1. I, too, love savory oatmeal, not just sweet oatmeal. I add dried veggies (chard, fine diced carrot, onion) dried seaweed (sea kale or kelp), a little olive oil, toasted sesame seeds, garlic powder. Steel-cut oats, in a small crockpot overnight on low. Sticks to the ribs!

    1. Eileen, several of my sponsors carry oxy absorbers: Emergency Essentials, Ready Made Resources, Be Prepared Now.net all sell them. Compare prices and also how many absorbers are in a package. Some companies sell 50 or 100 to a package. That\’s great when you\’re packaging a lot of food in many containers, but if you\’re only going to do a few at a time, it can be tricky. Here\’s the deal. As soon as the package of absorbers are opened, they begin absorbing oxygen in the air. If you\’re only using 12 out of 50 or 100, you don\’t want all the extras to reach their saturation point with oxygen and then become useless. The solution is to repackage the extra absorbers with a vacuum sealer or look for them in smaller quantities.

      1. When purchasing oats for long term storage do you need to put them in the freezer for 2 weeks in order to kill any insert eggs like you need to do with rice, flour and cornmeal? How long will the shelf life be when you package oats like this? Also do you think you could store Maltomeal the same way as oats for long term storage? I am totally new to all of this so forgive all the questions.

  10. I love historical stuff. For a lot of the middle ages people subsisted on ‘gruel.’ Yes, I know, not appetizing, but keeps you from starving. What is gruel, you ask? Thin soup of whatever cereal grains and seeds you can get, such as wheat, rye, flax seed, left-over bread crumbs from wherever, and oatmeal. Add anything you can get, bacon, butter, peas, carrots, onions, etc. It’s terribly bland but it’s better with some salt and pepper. Not really a delicious comfort food but in a survival situation it will keep you alive.

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