Low Calorie Oatmeal for Breakfast

I spend a good portion of each week testing easy, healthy, and HOPEFULLY tasty low calorie recipes to share with you. This past week I tried a variety of low calorie oatmeal recipes.
I have to laugh because I’ve tried some dreadful recipes; the kind of recipe that makes my husband frown when he realizes it’s an experiment! Haha! Fortunately for him and for YOU most test recipes never go beyond me unless it’s a hit or there is a reasonably good chance a dish might be improved with a few tweaks.
Well, with the weather cooling down where I live and fall in full swing with leaves turning gorgeous gold, yellow, and red, I’ve gotten back to eating oatmeal for breakfast. I find a warm bowl of oatmeal to be very satisfying and something that keeps me from getting hungry again all too quickly.
Given that I’m also watching my calorie intake to lose 2-4 pounds in the next month or two (too much recipe testing and tasting!), I thought I would share with you some of my adventures last week. Do read to the end because I have a fabulous recipe to share that I discovered quite by accident!
Warm Oatmeal Smoothie

On Tuesday morning I tried making a Warm Oatmeal Smoothie. (Original recipe: Warm Porridge Smoothie. See photo)  The picture looked good. The ingredients sounded good: Oats, nonfat milk, plain yogurt, blueberries, and strawberries. The nutrition couldn’t be better with lots of calcium, protein, dietary fiber, and more. I had to try this!
Warm Porridge Smoothie

Original Recipe for Warm Porridge Smoothie

I followed the original recipe quite closely. Just made a couple of small changes because of the switch from metric measurements to something I understand better. How did it turn out? Definitely low calorie and filling! Also, not too bad tasting because I added a little sugar! Only 304 calories for a serving with the additional tsp. of sugar.
What I liked about this recipe?

Filled me up so thoroughly I wasn’t hungry for a LONG time.
What was not so good?

I discovered after tasting it that drinking a WARM smoothie with oatmeal in it was a little disconcerting. It wasn’t a warm BOWL of cereal or a cold smoothie. Maybe that’s just my hangup? So I may or may not try this again. If I could just figure out how to modify the recipe to keep that filling goodness, this recipe could be a winner…
304 calories
17.9 g protein
4.8 g dietary fiber
515 mg calcium
1.9 mg iron
(About 1 ½ servings of milk, 2 servings of fruit, 1+ serving of whole grain)
Pumpkin Oatmeal

I tried this on Wednesday morning.  The idea of adding pumpkin to an oatmeal breakfast seemed to be an intriguing idea. I DO like pumpkin pie so the recipe showed some promise.
Pumpkin Oatmeal

Pumpkin Oatmeal

1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup milk
½ cup canned pumpkin puree
¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp. sugar
Cinnamon to taste
Makes 2 servings in less than 10 minutes

Mix together all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high for 2-3 minutes to desired consistency. Add a little more milk or water if necessary.

What I liked about this recipe?

It was quick and easy to prepare and quite tasty. The oats cooked up fairly well. They were chewy and definitely had a pumpkin pie taste.
Good nutrition and filling power.
What was not so good?

I didn’t like the smell of the cooked pumpkin. But if you give it a minute or two to cool a little, the overly pumpkin/squash smell goes away. To avoid this, it seems that some people add the pumpkin at the end of the cooking just giving it enough time to warm up. However, I like the ease of adding everything in all at once. The less fuss the better!
220 calories
10 grams protein
5.8 grams dietary fiber
129 mg calcium
3.3 mg iron
Creamy Pumpkin Oatmeal

This recipe is by far my favorite. It might amuse you to see what transpired to get the final result.
I had read a tip or two shared by dietitians that a favorite recipe for fast and easy oatmeal was to simply soak a half-cup of oatmeal in milk overnight in the refrigerator. The idea was to take it out in the morning and eat as is with some added dried fruit or nuts. Or heat up slightly if desired.
Here’s what it looked like right out of the refrigerator. Eat it as is????? With all due respect, I don’t think so…
Oatmeal with Milk

Oatmeal milk mixture after refrigeration for 12 hours

So I decided to microwave the mixture with the added ingredients of craisins, honey, and ¼ cup pumpkin puree. I cooked the oatmeal mixture on high for 2-3 minutes.
The problem is that the container cover became stuck as a vacuum of sorts was created during the cooking. I had not fastened the top with the latches so the result caught me off guard! I spent nearly ten minutes doing everything I could to get the lid off the top including putting the whole thing in the freezer for a while so that it might cool down enough for me to handle it better!! (Would have made a great comedy piece in an I Love Lucy type show.)
Well, low and behold when I finally pried off the lid, I discovered the oatmeal had continued cooking and it was soft, creamy and utterly delicious! Ha! Here’s my new recipe.
Creamy Pumpkin Oatmeal

Creamy Pumpkin Oatmeal


½ cup old-fashioned oatmeal (Irish steel cut oats might be even better)
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. craisins
1-2 tsp. honey or brown sugar
¼ cup pumpkin
¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice (optional)
Cinnamon to taste
Add milk to oatmeal in a microwave safe container with a lid (choose a container that is at least 3-4x the amount of oatmeal and milk because the mixture boils up when cooking in the microwave.) Refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, add the craisins or raisins, honey or sugar, and pumpkin puree. Cook on high for 2-3 minutes. Keep an eye on it while cooking if your container is not that big to prevent boiling over. Also make sure the lid is loosely set on top and slightly ajar to prevent causing suction!)
When you take the cooked cereal out of the microwave, allow it to sit for about ten minutes with the lid on well enough to keep the heat in but not get stuck. Use the time you’re waiting to get dressed or fix your sack lunch or whatever else you need to do in the morning.

325 calories
14.2 grams protein
7.8 grams dietary fiber
236 mg calcium
3.5 mg iron
What I liked about this recipe?

Everything in my humble opinion! Easy to prepare (Just requires thinking ahead and getting this started the evening before). Creamy, tasty, good. A complete meal in and of itself with the exception of pairing with a half a cup of juice or a small piece of fresh fruit for Vitamin C.
What was not so good?

I know I said everything is good. The only thing I might add is that it is VERY filling. I actually have a hard time eating the whole thing. And it keeps me so full that I have no interest in eating a mid-morning snack. I guess that’s a good thing on a diet. It’s just that I actually look forward to my mid-morning snack. Oh well…
If you give any of these low calorie oatmeal recipes a try, please let me know what you think!
Till next time, watch those calories and eat healthy food!
  • Michelle April 10, 2012, 8:06 pm

    Jan this sound so good I’m going out at 9:00pm to get pumpkin. I have the rest of the rest of the ingredients here. I will cool it over night. Just sound better marinated, I guess. I might not sleep well to night salivating for the morning. Diets are tough, but with awesome recipes like this, then you have something to look forward to. Thank you.

  • lilly March 13, 2012, 7:49 pm

    with the oatmeal smoothie it might be better to make the oatmeal the night before and put it in the frig in a sealed container and in the morning add the yogurt, blue berries, strawberries ,low fat milk etc. It may be better cold!

    • Lori March 14, 2012, 2:36 pm

      Great suggestion Lilly! I’ll have to give that a try.


  • Bobbi November 15, 2011, 9:38 am

    I actually make your last one listed every morning, and have found that I don’t have to soak it the night before. Get the same results both ways. I love it, and it is very filling!!! Love it, thank you

    • Lori November 15, 2011, 9:54 am

      Thanks Bobbi!

      It’s nice to know I can get the same results without soaking the oatmeal overnight.

      I actually tested these recipes last year and had forgotten all about them. Given that I have some leftover canned pumpkin to use up, I know what I will be eating for breakfast the rest of the week!


  • Linda April 4, 2011, 12:46 pm

    My cleaning lady brings a container with her filled with raw oatmeal soaked in water that she simply drinks, and she’s thin and full of energy.

  • Jenn October 26, 2010, 3:02 pm

    Awesome recipes! I’m always looking for healthy recipes to pass on to my clients and I’ll definitely forward them your way!

    • Lori October 26, 2010, 4:16 pm

      Thanks Jenn. Always nice to know someone has found my adventures with healthy low calorie recipes to be helpful!