Did you know that all oatmeal is not created equal? There are some easy ways to make oatmeal taste better (and keep you full longer!).
Done right, oatmeal 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!
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How to Make Oatmeal Taste Good (& More Satisfying)
The alternate title for this post is how to make oatmeal so it doesn’t suck. 🙂
I’d guess we have all had that gross oatmeal experience – this usually happens at hotel breakfast buffets, where I’ve 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.
In addition to the text and photos, be sure to check out the video below to see just how easy it is to make oatmeal taste good.
Simple tip #1: Make oatmeal with milk (or a non-dairy alternative) versus water.
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.
Simple tip #2: Use rolled oats or steel cut oats instead of packaged instant oatmeal.
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!
For one example, check out my Perfect Microwave Banana Oatmeal recipe – it’s ready in minutes!
Simple tip #3: Don’t make oatmeal too low calorie.
This is a really common mistake among a lot of my nutrition clients – they try 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/evening sugar cravings, and no “hangry” monster. Trust me!
(For more on sugar cravings, see this post: What Causes Sugar Cravings and How to Stop Them.)
And now, on to some concrete examples of how to implement this advice!
Here’s how to build a more nutritious and satisfying oatmeal bowl (that tastes better!):
1. Add some healthy fat.
Adding some 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, but I do enjoy the crunch and extra texture that chopped nuts add to the mix.
Sometimes I’ll do both and stir in a little nut butter for flavor AND add some nuts on top, too, for texture!
Pictured above: Carrot Cake Overnight Oats with Coconut Milk
2. Add some protein to your oatmeal.
Like I mentioned previously, one way to add protein and staying power to your oatmeal is to make the oatmeal with milk instead of water.
Whole milk is the best bet here in terms of protein (see this post for why I recommend whole instead of skim/low fat milk: 7 Common Nutrition Myths); if you’d prefer a dairy free option, try soy milk – the protein content is similar.
Non dairy alternatives like almond milk and oat milk, while yummy, don’t contain as much protein, but they will add some nice flavor to the mix.
Another option is hemp milk – it has a little more protein than almond milk (generally 3g vs. 1g), but still not as much as regular milk (which is usually about 8g per 1 cup serving).
Or, try topping the oatmeal with cottage cheese when it’s out of the microwave. This may sound weird, but it is surprisingly delicious! Greek yogurt can also be a nice protein rich mix in for oatmeal.
Another favorite protein option for me is to add an egg to it!
Just whisk the egg in before microwaving or cooking on the stovetop and proceed as normal. It will make it fluffy, but you won’t taste the egg! Don’t toss the yolks, either – they contain all of the egg’s fat soluble vitamins.
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).
Here are a few of my favorite oatmeal recipes with fruit: Almond Milk Overnight Oats with Berries, Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats with Banana, and Cherry Chocolate Overnight Oats.
By the way, if you’d rather slice vs. mash, here’s my favorite (& the absolute best, in my humble opinion) way to slice bananas for oatmeal!
4. Add some fun spices.
I almost always add cinnamon to my oatmeal – it just gives it that little extra bit of yummy flavor! (Like in this apple cinnamon oatmeal.)
For super cozy fall vibes, I also love adding a dash of ground cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom to oatmeal; one of my favorite oatmeal recipes for fall is my Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal which goes all in on the spices!
(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.)
Too long/didn’t read, or more of a visual learner? No problem!
Here’s a handy graphic with all the tips in one place that you can pin on Pinterest or save for later. 🙂
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: