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Make-Ahead Oatmeal, Plus Portion-Control Tips!
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Make-Ahead Oatmeal, Plus Portion-Control Tips!

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01.23.13
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Hi HG,

I love your growing oatmeal bowls, but I'm usually in a hurry in the morning and don't have time to make one. I know I could make it the night before, but I was wondering, do you have a recipe that makes several servings?

Oat Lovin' in Omaha  

Hi Oat Lovin' in Omaha,

Yay, glad you love the growing oatmeal! For those of you who don't know, growing oatmeal is an HG oatmeal recipe that's made with twice the ordinary amount of liquid and cooks for twice as long as average oatmeal made with old-fashioned oats -- the result is a HUGE bowl of oatmeal. And since I love your idea of a multi-serving recipe so much, I'm debuting one right here and now!

HG's Big Batch of Growing Oatmeal
1/4th of recipe (about 1 2/3 cups): 204 calories, 6g fat, 252mg sodium, 31.5g carbs, 5g fiber, 1g sugars, 6.5g protein -- PointsPlus® value 5*

Ingredients:
4 cups Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze
2 cups old-fashioned oats
8 no-calorie sweetener packets (like Splenda or Truvia), or HG Alternative
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a large nonstick pot. Add 4 cups water, and mix well. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.

Stirring often, cook until thick and creamy, about 25 minutes.

If you like, serve yourself a portion, and let slightly cool and thicken. Otherwise, transfer to a large container. Stirring occasionally, let cool completely, about 2 1/2 hours.

Cover and refrigerate. To serve, stir oatmeal and reheat. Enjoy!

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

HG Alternative: Use 1/3 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated) in place of the packets. Or use 1/3 cup sugar, and each serving will have 259 calories, 46g carbs, 17.5g sugars, and a PointsPlus® value of 7*.

That recipe is for our classic creamy vanilla oatmeal base. Wanna zazzle it up? Add fresh fruit like blueberries, chopped apples, mashed banana, or sliced strawberries. Stir in some sugar-free pancake syrup or low-sugar fruit preserves. You can add more decadent stuff too -- mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, shredded sweetened coconut, even reduced-fat peanut butter -- but watch those portions! The recipe makes four servings, so keep that in mind when adding extras. Want some more oatmeal inspiration? There's an entire "Growing Oatmeal Bowls" chapter in HUNGRY GIRL TO THE MAX! Enjoy...

Dear Hungry Girl,

I have a problem sticking to a single serving of anything -- especially sweets and snacks. Can you give me some advice so I don't sabotage my weight-loss efforts?

Can't-Stop Candace

Hi Candace,

I get this question a lot. It's too easy to go through a whole bag of chips in one sitting, only to realize there were FIVE servings in there! Here are some ways to keep your portions in check...

Look for portion-controlled products. I know, I know: DUH. But pre-packaged single servings are one of the best ways to avoid overeating. For snacks like cookies and crackers, pick up 100-calorie packs of your favorites: Nabisco, Kellogg, and Chex all make 'em, and they're easy to find. I also like Sarris Candies 100 Calories Pretzel Slims and single-serving bags of Popchips. If you like yogurt, almost all of the big brands make individual cups -- I love the fat-free Greek options by Chobani and Fage. For desserts, go for sugar-free pudding snacks (with 60 calories or less) and individual cups or bars of light ice cream (Skinny Cow makes GREAT ones!).

Buy in bulk, but portion it all out ASAP. Single-serve treats can get pricey, so buy multi-serving shelf-stable items, and stock up on sealable plastic baggies and/or containers. Then as soon as you get home from the supermarket, divvy up your goodies into individual servings. It's worth the time it takes, trust me!

Keep a food journal. This might seem like weird advice in response to a question about portion control, but hear me out. If you get into the habit of tracking everything you eat -- right down to the calories and serving size -- you'll be a LOT less likely to overdo it. For example, it's easy to keep going back for another half-cup scoop of ice cream (it's light!), but when you see the calories adding up in black and white, it's a completely different story! Try it out for a week, and see how it goes.

Use smaller bowls and plates. Some are ENORMOUS, and they can make realistic portions appear super measly. (Who wants a cereal bowl that's only a third of the way full?) There are even some cute color-coded sets that can be used for both measuring and eating. Neat!

Hope I answered more than a portion of your question ;)

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*The PointsPlus® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.

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