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Monday, October 13, 2014

Gaining weight on a tight budget: Power-packed oatmeal

(For a re-cap, one of my daughters is recovering from an eating disorder and is in the process of weight restoration. She requires a great deal of calories every day. However, this kind of meal could also meet the nutritional needs of someone needing to gain weight for other reasons.)

This morning, we made another power-packed shake for breakfast, with whole milk, oats, peanut butter, canned pumpkin, cocoa powder, sugar and oil. It topped 650 calories.

But yesterday, we did another weekend, power-packed favorite -- the meal-in-a-bowl bowl of oatmeal.

I make this in the microwave, for ease.

In a microwaveable casserole dish:

  • bring 1 cup of whole milk, and a pinch of salt just below boiling (about 2-3 minutes in the microwave).
  • stir in, 1/2 cup rolled oats, and any of the following:

  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin, applesauce, or mashed, cooked yams
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons finely shredded carrots or zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon butter or oil
  • 2 teaspoons or so of sweetener (honey, sugar, agave, jam, jelly, maple syrup, molasses)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons peanut butter (or other nuts butters)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped nuts or seeds
  • 1/4 to 1/2  cup chopped apple, pear, sliced bananas
  • cocoa powder
  • pinch spices (cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg)
  • ground flax seeds
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
  • extracts (vanilla, maple)
  • minced, cooked ham, or, crumbled, cooked bacon, or, diced, cooked breakfast sausage

  • Microwave for an additional minute or two, until the oatmeal is porridge-y consistency. Top with 1/2 cup of additional milk, if desired. 
  • This is 1 serving.
The first two items, the whole milk and 1/2 cup of rolled oats, contain about 300 calories. As I'm creating a bowl of oatmeal, I add up the additional calories in my head. My daughter is now taking in 650 calories for breakfasts, which means I need to add 350 more calories from the remaining list. It would be easy to just add fats and sugars, but we're going for complete nutrition in 1 meal, so I like to add some fruit and/or vegetables, nuts and/or seeds and/or some cooked breakfast meat.

For the rest of the family, I make a second, larger casserole dish of oatmeal in the microwave, using water in place of milk, and omitting the addition of oils, butter, whipping cream. I still add fruit/veg, nuts/seeds, crumbled bacon, ham or sausage, and flavors/spices, for interest, variety and nutrition.


  1. Oatmeal is such a great breakfast food, very filling comfort food. :)

    1. Hi Belinda,
      I so agree -- filling and very warming on chilly mornings!

  2. So glad your daughter is putting on weight (I did read your other post). When my daughter was really underweight as a baby and toddler after her traumatic start in life with an abdominal birth defect, we did a lot of adding cream and butter to foods. She also had polycal added to her milk. It kind of went against my healthy eating principles but you have to strike a balance and do what needs to be done. In this and your other blog post it sounds like you've found lots of good ways to balance health and nutrition whilst maintaining the high calories.

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Yes, it does feel like it's going against everything I've always learned about nutrition. But it is/was what is needed, for your daughter and mine.
      Thanks for the well wishes!


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