If you’re craving something warm and comforting for breakfast that’s nutritious and naturally sweetened with no added sugar, this Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal recipe is exactly what you need!
Did you grow up eating instant oatmeal? I sure did. Those little paper packets of quick-cooking oats and some weird powdery substance? They are the story of my childhood.
I’ll admit; I see the appeal. Your kid can do it all from a young age. Just pour the contents of that little package into a bowl, add some water, and turn on the microwave.
It was easy and I loved that warm bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. I’m sure my parents loved that I could do it all myself by age 5. (I actually don’t remember how old I was, but 5 seems accurate…)
It turns out, cooking oatmeal on the stovetop isn’t so hard. And it doesn’t take all that long, either. Why shouldn’t we teach our kids to cook real food for themselves? They can do more than operate a microwave, right?
I don’t typically subscribe to a lot of food rules or restrictions. I’m not a fan of diets or counting macros or any of that. Moderation and balance are my style. The one thing I try to focus on, however, is eating as much whole, unprocessed foods as possible.
If I can easily make something at home instead of buying a product with preservatives and additives, I will. That’s where this Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal recipe comes in.
Let’s take a look at the ingredients of a popular brand of instant oatmeal (Apples and Cinnamon flavored):
WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, SUGAR, DEHYDRATED APPLES (TREATED WITH SODIUM SULFITE TO PROMOTE COLOR RETENTION), NATURAL FLAVOR, CINNAMON, SALT, CALCIUM CARBONATE, OAT FLOUR, CITRIC ACID, GUAR GUM, REDUCED IRON, VITAMIN A PALMITATE.
Now let’s go through the ingredients and why I like to keep them to a minimum.
Sugar: You probably don’t need an explanation here. Sugar is bad for us no matter how we spin it and I will show you how to make delicious oatmeal without added sugar. Trust me, your kids will love it.
Sodium Sulfite: This chemical is actually more often found in cosmetics than food. It has been shown to be an immune system suppressant in humans and to inhibit the growth of beneficial bacteria in our guts. (source) Just what you need for cold and flu season, right? In animal studies, this chemical has been shown to negatively affect the brain, nervous system, behavior, and respiratory system at low doses. It’s also thought to aggravate asthma.
Natural Flavors: Although I don’t avoid “natural flavors” 100%, I like to as much as I can because there is no way to tell what it is they are using. It could be good or bad. It’s a blanket term that could be a number of harmful ingredients and I’d rather know what I’m consuming.
Calcium Carbonate: This additive can cause constipation and, if consumed in large amounts, a mineral imbalance.
I don’t have time to pick apart the ingredients in everything I buy, so I choose to avoid processed foods as much as I can. Clearly, eating 100% unprocessed is not reasonable. But moderation is key and eating more fresh than processed is the goal.
I don’t want to come across as a family who makes everything homemade all the time. We don’t. My kids do eat processed foods like cereal for breakfast sometimes. But my goal is to make that the exception and not the norm so they get as many nourishing, whole foods into their bellies as possible.
This Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Recipe is Easy! Promise.
Most of the time the goal of processed foods is to save time. And I know as well as anyone that nobody wants a big hassle at breakfast time, especially during the school year when the mornings are a rush anyway.
The good news? Preparing homemade oatmeal doesn’t take all that much longer than it does to cook up the instant stuff. I’ve timed it, and from start to finish, it takes less than 10 minutes to prepare this Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal recipe!
Even if it means getting up a few minutes earlier, I think those few extra minutes are worth it. This oatmeal tastes better than the instant stuff and has only ingredients you know as food.
I sweeten this oatmeal with banana instead of sugar. Whipping a banana into the oats creates the sweet oatmeal that our kids crave without the added sugar. The banana flavor isn’t too strong and I also love the creamy texture it lends to the oatmeal.Print
This recipe was first published in October 2010. Here’s my sweet girl Meghan enjoying it when she was just 2 years old. She’s almost 11 now and still loves my homemade oatmeal! I updated the pictures August 2019 and also some of the text to reflect my current views on processed food. I’ve gotten more moderate over the years. 😉
If you love homemade oatmeal as much as our family, please check out the best oatmeal recipes on the Internet!