Did you guys know that all oatmeal is not created equal? Done right, it can be a delicious and satisfying breakfast, but it can just as easily be plain, boring, and leave you hungry an hour later. Here’s how to make oatmeal more filling, yummy, and satisfying!
The alternate title for this post is how to make oatmeal so it doesn’t suck. :) I think we’ve all had the gross oatmeal experience – this usually happens at hotel breakfast buffets, where I’ve often taken a bite of oatmeal only to find it gummy and lacking flavor. Yuck! But there are lots of things you can do aside from adding sugar to make oatmeal tasty.
Common oatmeal mistake #1: Making it with water instead of milk or a non-dairy alternative.
Not only does oatmeal made with water taste way less delicious, but you’re also missing out on the extra protein staying power that milk will add to the breakfast. Water will also make the oats more gummy instead of creamy.
Common oatmeal mistake #2: Using packaged instant oatmeal instead of rolled oats.
Instant oats are more processed than regular rolled oats, so they will have less fiber, and if you’re buying the flavored instant oat packets, they are usually packed with sugar and not much else. Rolled oats can be microwaved and it’s just as easy to add your own mix ins to get good flavor without all that sugar. Check out my Perfect Microwave Banana Oatmeal recipe – it’s ready in minutes!
Common oatmeal mistake #3: Trying to make it too low calorie.
This is a really common mistake among a lot of my clients – trying to “be good” and make breakfast really low calorie, for example by having water + an instant oatmeal packet. Friends: this always backfires. Listen to your body and nourish it first thing. Having a real breakfast with a solid mix of carbs, healthy fat, and protein will mean way less afternoon sugar cravings, and no “hangry” monster. Trust me!
Here’s how to build a more nutritious and satisfying oatmeal bowl:
1. Add some healthy fat. Adding healthy fat to breakfast will really help with satiety and staying power so you aren’t reaching for a snack 30 minutes later. Try adding a serving of your favorite nut or seed (e.g. slivered almonds, walnuts, pecans, chia seeds, ground flax seed, etc.) next time you have oatmeal. Nut butter also works here!
2. Add some protein. Tips:
- Make the oatmeal with milk instead of water. If you’re using almond milk, it will add nice flavor, but won’t increase the protein content much. Soy milk is a better protein source, or you can add some protein powder if you want.
- Top the oatmeal with cottage cheese when it’s out of the microwave. This is surprisingly delicious!
- Add an egg to it! Just whisk the egg in before microwaving and proceed as normal. It will make it fluffy! Don’t toss the yolks, either – they contain all of the egg’s fat soluble vitamins!
- Try my High Protein Oatmeal recipe!
3. Add some fruit!
One of my favorite ways to make oatmeal taste good without adding any sugar is to add a super ripe mashed banana to the bowl before adding the oats and milk. It makes it nice and sweet and creamy! I also love adding berries to oatmeal (if they are frozen, add them before cooking, otherwise, add them after it’s cooked).
4. Add some fun spices.
One of my favorite oatmeal recipes for fall is my Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal. (The instructions say to make it on the stove, but microwave works too – just mash the banana instead of slicing it, add in the other ingredients, then microwave for 2 to 3 minutes.)
What are your favorite ways to make oatmeal tastier and more satisfying? Here are a few of my standard favorite recipes to get you started: