Breakfast Recipe: Coconut Chia Oatmeal

A classic oatmeal breakfast (or worse, an instant packet) consists of simple grains and sugar, and not much else. I find that it gives a quick sugar rush, but I’m often hungry within an hour or two.

For last season, David developed a recipe that sticks better to my ribs, combining an oatmeal base with longer-burning chia and coconut, a modest amount of sugar, and some yummy toppings. With over 600 calories, it will almost power me to lunch.

Meal Stats

  • 4.5 ounces (107 grams)
  • 622 calories
  • 138 calories per ounce
An easy, filling, not-to-sweet breakfast

Ingredients

Think of this recipe as a template — it can be changed in any manner of ways. However, don’t stray too far from the 4.5-ounce serving weight, and don’t skip the sugar or salt.

For example, use:

  • Dried blueberries, dried apple pieces, or dried strawberries instead of raisins.
  • Macadamia nuts instead of almonds, if you prefer an extra rich flavor and higher caloric density.
  • Protein powder instead of coconut milk powder, though a vanilla flavored brand is recommended.

You can also employ the overnight oats method, and soak the cereal in water the night before. The oats and chia seeds will be soft enough to eat for a quick start.

At Home Preparation

For solo trips, all ingredients can be combined into a small, ziplock bag. If you backpack a lot, mixing together a large batch that you can individually portion throughout the season will save you time.

For groups, it can be easier to accommodate everyone’s preferences by combining all the oats, chia seeds, and coconut milk powder in one bag. Keep the sugar and toppings separate, and let people mix them in to their taste.

Field Preparation

Preparing this meal is very easy.

  1. Bring 8-10 ounces of water to a boil.
  2. Take your pot off the flame. Add the bag of ingredients to the water and stir
  3. Let the mixture sit for 3-5 minutes. If you put it back on the heat, stir constantly to avoid burning the meal.

Using extra water, about 12 ounces, will give you a looser consistency. This makes cleanup easier. Watch from splatters if you put the mix back over the flame.

Have questions or an experience with this meal? Leave a comment.


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7 Comments

  1. CJ Watt on December 1, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    Hi – does this recipe call for quick oats or the variety which requires cooking for 10-10 min?

    • Andrew Skurka on December 1, 2019 at 5:24 pm

      You could use whatever kind of oatmeal you’d like.

      We normally use Old Fashioned Quaker Oats, purchased in huge boxes at Costco. Those require about 5 minutes of total cook time, though this could just be 5 minutes in the pot after adding the ingredients to boiling water.

  2. Joe on December 1, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    How much salt and cinnamon? The chart above says 0.0 for each one.

    • Andrew Skurka on December 1, 2019 at 5:26 pm

      To taste. It’s less than 0.05 oz, so won’t register on a postal scale.

  3. Steven on December 5, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    This is a great recipe, thank you for sharing. I already pack oats, protein powder, and chia seeds as my breakfast most days and it hadn’t ocurred to me to build on it as a backpacking meal.

    I use Target’s quick oats, which are softer than Quaker, and found cooking unnecessary due to how soft they get after 5-10 minutes.

  4. Matt Swider on December 6, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    This sounds very similar to what I eat for breakfast at home regularly. Only difference is I substitute ground flaxseeds and hemp hearts for the oatmeal. Cal/oz goes up a bit with this substitution, and it works great making the night before. Cost/oz goes up with the substitution though, but also gluten free. I eat it cold, but on the trail it would be easy to heat water, add ingredients, remove heat. The flaxseed (and chia) really soaks up the liquids, so certainly the amount of water maybe different.

  5. Nancy Fichtner on December 13, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    I use quick-cooking oats, and in addition to most of the above also add organic butter powder, hemp hearts,—freeze-dried fruit (which tastes like fresh fruit when it is hydrated—Trader Joe’s) Also weighs less than dried fruit. I am able to pack a lot of calories into a fairly small serving.

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