I've been on this kick lately where I've been trying to eliminate some unnecessary garbage. I guess you could call it trying to "Go Green" or at least an attempt to make a small effort which I've never even tried before. I've made a huge cut in the amount of individual juice boxes I buy. Instead I've started buying frozen juice concentrate and mixing up my own juice. This is also great because I can dilute it with some extra water and it still tastes the same to my preschooler. I've stopped buying individual size jello/pudding cups and make my own in small reusable containers that my boy can still easily grab out of the fridge. This is fun because you can make lots more jello/fruit combinations than what is offered at the grocery store. I've also started buying large containers of applesauce and yogurt and dividing them out myself into small reusable containers. It saves money and also produces less trash.
Here's another way I found to eliminate unnecessary trash. It's a recipe for Instant Oatmeal Mix from a food blog called Real Mom Kitchen. It's great because you can add any dried fruit/nut combination you want and you can also control how much sugar you want to add to it (often times making it healthier than those little pre-made packets that you buy at the store).
Here's a picture of the batch I made using dehydrated apples and walnuts. The container was 3/4 full when I first made it but was getting rather low by the time we got around to taking a picture!
Instant Oatmeal Mix
Source: Real Mom Kitchen
6 c. quick-cooking oats
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
3 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. salt
1 c. dried fruit or nuts, if desired
In a large bowl, combine all of the above ingredients. Then store in airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 1 month. Makes 14 half cup servings.
To prepare oatmeal:
Place 1/2 cup of mix in a deep microwave-safe bowl. (My cereal bowls worked just fine.) Add 3/4 cup water to the mix and microwave, uncovered, on high for 45 seconds. Stir and cook 20-50 seconds more or until bubbly. Let stand for 1-2 minutes. Serve with milk, some extra brown sugar, and fresh fruit if desired.
Yield: 1 serving
*** If you don’t add the dried fruit or nuts to the mix you can top with many things. Here are some yummy ideas.
Fresh or frozen fruit – diced apple, blueberries, diced peaches, raspberries, diced strawberries, blackberries, or diced bananas. Applesauce is a nice addition too.
Nuts - pecans, almonds, walnuts, etc.
Nut Butters and jams – any jelly, jam, or fruit preserves you like. Butters like peanut, apple, almond, cashew, etc. are good additions. Don’t for get about nutella too.
Cereal – Throw a spoonful or two of your favorite granola or favorite dry breakfast cereal on top for some added crunch.
Syrup or sugar – add a little maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar for sweetness.
Yogurt – yogurt adds richness and creaminess just like milk but can also add flavor by the kind you use such as strawberry and peach.
Ice cream – a spoonful of ice cream takes it up a notch from milk. Plus you get that hot and cold combination.
Here are some combination ideas:
Peaches and Cream – top with fresh diced peaches and vanilla yogurt
Blackberry Cobbler – top with fresh blackberries and crushed vanilla wafers
Black Forest – topped with chocolate chips, walnuts, and fresh diced cherries
Savory – top with crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, and maple syrup.
Spryliving.com has photos of 28 different ways to top your oatmeal.