What should I put in my hot water?
February 13, 2007 2:50 PM   Subscribe

My watercooler at work has a hot water feature which I would like to take advantage of. What are the best healthy substantial "meals" that require me only to add hot water? (Relevant info: At a cafe I used to frequent, there were packets of Bear Naked blueberry oatmeal that were outstanding. Now, Bear Naked's site doesn't list this as one of their products. Does this product still exist? I don't like Quaker Oats.)
posted by Aghast. to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Well, you got your Ramen noodles, for one.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:54 PM on February 13, 2007

I've been using hot water to make quick oats with unrefined cane sugar (both bought from the bulk food bins at Whole Foods). The best part about it is that breakfast costs me a few dollars a month now, instead of a few dollars a day. I imagine you can do something similar and also add in some dried blueberries or other types of fruit.
posted by jclovebrew at 3:10 PM on February 13, 2007

Knorr (or any other brand) dehydrated soup? Just bring a roll.

I really like this brand; the soups are tasty - the cream of... soups are the best of the dehydrated varieties that I've had. Knorr also makes dehydrated soup+noodles, too.
posted by porpoise at 3:11 PM on February 13, 2007

I suspect they're not all that healthy, but I ate a lot of Fantastic Foods soup cups when I was in college.
posted by craichead at 3:13 PM on February 13, 2007

You can find these Nile Spice cups some places - the ones I've had weren't bad. And you can sometimes find MREs for sale. Really.

Dunno how much luck you'll have finding healthy stuff that says "just add water", though.
posted by dilettante at 3:16 PM on February 13, 2007

i like apple cinnamon quaker oats
(sorry, but my version kicks ass, you'll see)-- with

a big spoonful of wheat bran or spelt seeds,
a handful of fresh or frozen blueberries,
and a half-scoop of vanilla protein powder.

when that's all stirred together with the hot water, add

a big whop of vanilla yogurt
and top with maple syrup.

you can mix the bran/seeds/oatmeal/powder up in baggies or in a jar, and keep the yogurt, syrup, and berries in the employee fridge. it sounds time-consuming but it's actually pretty fast, and definitely worth it- healthy, filling, balanced, good for the plumbing, and delicious.
posted by twistofrhyme at 3:30 PM on February 13, 2007

This isn't exactly healthy, but the spicy Korean ramen bowls are far superior to your average ramen (something like this). I can't tell what flavor that is in the picture, but I buy a hot and spicy seafood version at my local Stop & Shop. It's awesome for lunch, and filling, although it's certainly not an everyday food.

If you're looking for something healthier the Thai Kitchen noodle bowls are probably a little better for you. Unfortunately, most of the just-add-water products are going to be loaded with salt/sugar/MSG/misc. crap.

You could get yourself a nice tea set and use the water that way. There are lots of great herbal options if you don't want to be drinking caffeine all day.
posted by robinpME at 3:33 PM on February 13, 2007

Best answer: You can make miso soup from paste.
posted by spasm at 3:41 PM on February 13, 2007

Although ramen noodles may be convenient, they are NOT good for you. Did you know that one package of roast beef Maruchan ramen noodles is actually two servings? Yes, that little block of noodles is two servings. The whole package has 14g of fat and 1540mg of sodium. There are slightly healthier alternatives, like the Niles Spice cups already mentioned. However, many dried soups have horribly high sodium content.

I'd stick to healthy soups you can make at home and re-heat at work or canned soups you can also warm at the office (assuming there's a microwave). There are some recommendations here, here, and here. If you don't want soup, have a Boca or other soy burger on a whole wheat bun, or any microwavable diet meal (Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones etc.). Leave the hot tap water for a good cup of tea.
posted by youngergirl44 at 3:55 PM on February 13, 2007

I was also going to say that if you liked the Bear Naked blueberry oatmeal, you could always buy their standard oatmeal and add fresh blueberries to it.
posted by youngergirl44 at 3:58 PM on February 13, 2007

Best answer: I've had Nature's Path Optimum Power Instant Oatmeal nearly every day at work for the last year. Needless to say, I love it. It's improved with about 20 seconds in the microwave after adding the hot water from the cooler but even without the added heat it's delicious.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 4:10 PM on February 13, 2007

The Kashi instant oatmeal is delicious. I used to make it with the water-cooler-hot-water at my old office, and I'd add one of those little half-and-half containers to it if I felt like being all decadent.
posted by paleography at 4:18 PM on February 13, 2007

Be careful with the soups here. Instant soups often have an absurdly high sodium content that, while OK occasionally, could be very bad news for you if eaten daily. Lots of soups will have 25% of your daily value of sodium or more - and some of them even claim that one "container" (cup, bag, can) is 2 servings, so take note of that.

That said, we have this at my work too so I'll be interested to see what comes up. Lots of folks use it for oatmeal, tea and hot chocolate.
posted by twiggy at 4:24 PM on February 13, 2007

If you have access to Trader Joe's, they've got some yummy noodle cups. As others have noted, they do have 25% of the daily RDA of sodium, as well as containing two servings in each cup.
posted by padraigin at 4:34 PM on February 13, 2007

Best answer: I don't know about healthy, but for breakfast at work I take one pack of the plain flavour (ie yukky no flavour) quaker oatmeal, and one pack of hot chocolate mix. Tip hot chocolate powder on top of oatmeal in a cup, add hot water. Chocolate flavoured oatmeal - yum! (note, important to put the chocolate powder on top of the oatmeal, otherwise the oatmeal steals all the water when you try and mix it, and makes it harder to get the correct consistency).
posted by Joh at 5:02 PM on February 13, 2007 [2 favorites]

posted by textilephile at 5:57 PM on February 13, 2007

nthing oatmeal.

As an aside, I decided to kill 2 birds with one mug this week by combining coffee and oatmeal in the mornings. The scottish porridge type oatmeal works better than the super mushy stuff. By the time you are done drinking the coffee, your oatmeal is ready! (and it imparts a nice nutty flavor to the coffee) I keep forgetting, so by the time I finish the coffee, I have a nice oatmeal surprise at the end! I call it CoffMeal. mmm
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:34 PM on February 13, 2007 [3 favorites]

For meals other than soup / oatmeal, you can try dehydrated meals for backpackers. A site like


(that is a random site just to show some examples, I buy mine at my local outdoor store)

If you like organic, Mary Janes Farm is a good brand to look into. They actually market their dehydrated food as suitable for office, campus, outdoors, etc...
(scroll down to the kitchen section to see the selection of meals they sell)
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 9:05 PM on February 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Irish steel cut oats are super tasty and hearty. WAY more nutritious than Quaker. And, they come in instant single serving packages.
posted by sneakin at 3:01 AM on February 14, 2007

Best answer: Specifically, Near East couscous, the kind that comes with a little flavor packet to stir in. Delicious, filling, healthy.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:50 AM on February 14, 2007

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