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How To Make Oatmeal More Filling and Satisfying

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!

how to make oatmeal more filling

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.

MY OTHER RECIPES
 

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!

how to make oatmeal more satisfying

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!

how to add more protein to oatmeal

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).

how to make oatmeal more satisfying

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.)

how to make oatmeal taste better without sugar

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:

Comments

  1. 1

    I love love love oatmeal! Being French all my friends think I’m weird but I think they’re just silly :p

    I used to make it with just water during my ED days then transitioned to half water/half milk and now I find that more and more I’m making it 100% milk. I find the consistency so much nicer with milk but it’s also very cloying so I’m just playing around at the moment!

    One addition I’ve discovered recently in cocoa, yum!!!

  2. 2

    I always add protein powder!! Makes it WAY more filling!

  3. 3

    This is a great post! So many people don’t realize just how many options they have when it comes to oatmeal…and I can personally vouch for the oatmeal/cottage cheese combo ;)

    Gabi
    http://www.livehealtheasy.com

  4. 4

    Oatmeal is one of my favorites. Lately I have been adding raw almond butter and it’s so good!

  5. 5

    Love these tips! I always add egg whites, banana, and cinnamon to the mix and top with nut butter :)

  6. 6

    I couldn’t agree more! If I go skimpy on my breakfast I’m hangry around 10AM.

    I love putting almond butter or pumpkin purée in my oatmeal! I’m on a goat cheese kick right now and the thought of putting that in it just crossed through my mind … The struggle is real.

  7. 8

    I. Love. This. Post. You’re absolutely right about needing to make oatmeal filling with healthy, high-protein, healthy-fat add-ons. I think we’ve all learned the hard way that oats + water = growling stomach very soon after. I love your suggestions! Thanks for sharing!

  8. 9

    This colder weather we’re having this week is definitely making me thing Oatmeal weather is on it’s way!

  9. 10

    anthony likes to top his oatmeal with yogurt! I think it’s weird, but it works for him!

  10. 11

    I definitely need to beef up my oatmeal! I like adding cinnamon, banana and berries, cottage cheese, nut butter, and something crunchy to the top (nuts or cereal/granola). Pumpkin is a fun add in when the season is right, too!

  11. 12

    Ever since I came upon this recipe, I’m obsessed. I love it. I usually do the banana with milk and peanut butter. I’m definitely going to try the pumpkin spice and the cottage cheese! Thanks, again, Anne!

  12. 14

    That was weird. I was just writing about oatmeal and happened upon this. PERFECT!! I like the myths you wrote about, so true! Oatmeal CAN be filling, but it can also be very fleeting!

  13. 15

    I love adding frozen blueberries to my cooked oatmeal, because the hot oatmeal thaws the berries as it becomes cool enough to eat even faster! :)

  14. 16

    Love your suggestions! Something that I have discovered that I like is savory oatmeal! Oh She Glows has a recipe that I like! Sounds weird, but is strangely delicious.

  15. 17

    I made oatmeal this morning and didn’t realize how much I’d missed it this Summer. I’m ready for Fall to add more variety to my morning meal. Thanks for the suggestions!

  16. 18

    I love oatmeal! I make mine with Almond milk, but I have never tried adding an egg before (will try that next time). I also add in nutmeg and cinnamon :) and sometimes a little vanilla extract. I’m not a big fan of fruits with it, but that’s just me. Great recipes thanks!

  17. 19

    I’ve been enjoying your microwave banana oatmeal recipe for years! I use whole milk for fat, and add peanut flour to add a ton of protein and get that PB banana flavor. Now I will have to try adding egg! Think that would work with your microwave banana recipe?

  18. 21

    I agree that a ripe banana is the foundation to a good bowl of oatmeal :) My favorite is to load the oats with blueberries while its cooking… so good.

  19. 22

    These are great tips, Anne! I always eat my egg yolks, and I know pairing fat with vitamin-pack foods (like dressing on salad) is a good way to make sure your body is getting those vitamins, but I didn’t know egg yolks actually CONTAIN those vitamins. And you’re so right about low-cal breakfasts. The bigger breakfast is so worth it.

    I’m glad you’re going to be doing more nutrition-focused posts. I always think those are your best ones. You do a great job of relaying nutrition info to readers!

  20. 23

    I love adding protein powder, fruit, nut butter and ground flax seed to my oatmeal. I haven’t tried cottage cheese- definitely need to give that a try!

  21. 24

    I LOVE oatmeal but I’ve had to give up eating it. I am diabetic and it raises by blood sugar through the roof :(

    • 25

      It would raise your blood sugar less if you add some protein and healthy fat to it!

      • 26

        Hi Anne, unfortunately I’ve tried adding slivered almonds, coconut oil, protein powder, and even added more fiber to it and it changes little with lowering my blood sugar. I am one of those unlucky people who can’t tolerate carbs:( The only way I can control my diabetes is with a low carb, higher protein/fat diet. I can only dream about oatmeal!

  22. 28

    I would’ve never thought to put cottage cheese on my oatmeal! I have to try that now.

    I like to make an Oatmeal Bake on Sunday to have on hand for the week. Here’s my favorite Fall recipe! http://www.livehalffullblog.com/2013/10/08/honeycrisp-oatmeal-bake/

  23. 29

    I usually eat oatmeal for breakfast at least 3 days a week, I use rolled or steel cut oats, almond butter, milk, applesauce (I’m not a huge banana fan and this is a great replacement), and protein powder. It keeps me full for hours. Love this post and definitely want to try the egg thing and experiment with more savory oatmeals this fall!

  24. 30

    I’m learning about Oatmeal!!

  25. 31

    Great tips! Oatmeal is my favorite breakfast and nothing holds me over until lunch like it does!

  26. 32

    Great post! I tend to switch to a hot breakfast during Fall/Winter. I like to use oat bran as a base and then add chia seeds, walnuts, and a banana. I’ll have to try the egg or cottage cheese because I’m always hungry by mid-morning after eating oats! (Adding homemade – no sugar – applesauce or pear sauce is another favorite addition.)

  27. 33

    I’m excited oatmeal season is back! It was too hot all summer to want it. My favorite way is to top with one spoonful of brown sugar and berries or a banana. I prefer water in my oatmeal so I have a glass of milk on the side to get the protein in.

  28. 34

    I love having oatmeal for breakfast!!! Here are my two go to oatmeal recipes:
    Adding strawberry yogurt, chopped walnuts, cinnamon, a pinch of brown sugar, and dried cranberries. Adding strawberry yogurt, chopped walnuts, a pinch of brown sugar, and frozen blueberries. How I cook my oatmeal: first, boil 2/3 cups of milk. Then incorporate 1/3 cup of rolled oats. Stir until thick, desired texture. Add in 1/3 cup yogurt, stir. Add in spices and cinnamon. Then add berries and walnuts. Serve warm, topped with more cinnamon and brown sugar.

  29. 36

    I love my oatmeal with almond milk, golden raisins, a pat of real butter and blackberries on top! YUM!!!

  30. 37

    Thanks for some interesting ideas {cottage cheese, eggs}! I will try them. One of my favorite ways to enjoy oatmeal is to combine oats, milk, a pinch of salt and diced Granny Smith apple and cook in the microwave. I add lots of broken walnuts on top for great flavor, crunch & protein.

  31. 39

    Your suggestion to add an egg changed my life! It makes my oatmeal so much more filling, and it gets this lovely meringue texture. Thank you :)

  32. 41

    My take to work breakfast is this;
    Oatmeal in take to work container, pour boiling water on just above being wet, cover and go do my morning exercise. When I am back and getting lunch ready I put some frozen or fresh fruit on it, greek nonfat yogurt, sliced frozen banana and a tablespoon of sliced almonds or chia or hempseed. By the time I get to work, the fruit is all melting into the oatmeal and the banana into the yogurt. It’s yummy!

  33. 43

    Hi,
    I was never a fan of oatmeal, but i always wanted to eat it cause i know it’s a great nutritious breakfast. Yesterday i tried your recipe and it was amazing! Now i want to eat oatmeal everyday!:)

  34. 45

    Oatmeal made with water doesn’t actually taste bad. It doesn’t taste good either. It has very little flavor so you’re just eating thickened water. Which is yuck.

    I like to use home made beef au jus for the liquid and maybe put some beef chunks in with it. That’s a favorite meal and or snack. With just a dash of salt to activate the flavor it’s great.

  35. 46

    I used to eat the packaged oatmeal and then I came across your banana microwave oatmeal recipe and it changed my life!!!!!!! I love,love, love it. My go-to breakfast.

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