Refrigerator Oatmeal

by Ranim Elborai

So a couple of weeks ago I was puttering around one of the fitness forums on reddit and a user was asking about healthy, quick, portable breakfast recipes he could take with him to work.

More than one reply came back with the answer, “refrigerator oatmeal.”

imgresBehold: DIY Refrigerator Oatmeal. Source: The Yummy Life

A quick search determined that r/Fitness and a bunch of other subreddits are crazy about refrigerator oatmeal. That means that the whole world is probably flipping out about it too.

As a lover of oatmeal and all things mushy in generala I had to get on the bandwagon as soon as possible.

The urgency was only compounded by the fact that the recipe included the new wunderkind of the superfood industry: chia seeds. Full of protein, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and fibre, in an unobtrusive low-cal package, it’s hard to say no to the chia seed.

637c5cd3ba99c7def302c1945c4c1265The chia seed’s less noble recent past.

The top search result on google for “refrigerator oatmeal” is this delightful post on The Yummy Life, detailing six delicious-looking and sounding recipes for making your own mush in a jar.

After unearthing a few mason jars of my own, I set about acquiring chia seeds since I already had everything else. Except the milk. I only ever have a splash of milk in my tea — any more causes blockages in my intimate plumbing system.

So, most of us, when we make recipes off the internet, have great expectations for our own results. We’re ambitious. We’re optimistic. We may have even gone to culinary school, somehow having formed the impression that we have some latent talent deep within our bones in need of some professional nurturing and curation.


Anyway, making healthy mush in a jar is a really simple task. But making it appear palatable on the first try evaded me.



I know… it looks so unsavoury, right? But that’s because I didn’t have any visual contrast between the fruit I used, a banana, and the base of the meal itself. Without the distracting vibrancy of fruits like mango or strawberry, the mythical refrigerator oatmeal was revealed to be what I knew it would be all along: mush in a jar.

And it didn’t help that I had no miniature bandana to tie around the rim to liven things up. Or any talent at food photography. Also, my mason jar was too big — there was way too much of that ugly goop in there for me to eat.

Not discouraged (after all, I had a massive container of oatmeal sitting on my counter, and a pile of chia seeds to chew through) I tried again. I coughed up the money for blueberriesb and traded the jars for some small glasses, drizzled some honey on there for some more sweetness, and suddenly my refrigerator oatmeal didn’t look like an old newspaper that’s been caught in the rain and trampled on by cars and pedestrians anymore.

2nd ShotAttempt No. 2, which I just had earlier this morning, was definitely more photogenic.

So, are you going to try refrigerator oatmeal?

  1. Yeah, I ate Cerelac well into middle school. Proud of it.  (back)
  2. You laugh, but berries are stupidly expensive here in Dubai. It’s like $10 for a box of blueberries — and I’m still working on the whole setting up my career thing here. I’ve been eating lots of dates though.  (back)