6 Creative Ways to Upgrade Your Oatmeal

| WRITTEN BY: Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN

Say goodbye to a boring breakfast with these easy oatmeal ideas for how to add variety and nutrition to your bowl with no extra time.

Starting your mornings with a bowl of oatmeal can be a healthy way to kickstart your day. Oatmeal should never be boring! Use these oatmeal ideas to try something new that your taste buds will love.

Embrace Savory

Who says oatmeal has to be sweet? If you’re more of a savory breakfast person, try a bowl of savory oatmeal! Oats are a versatile whole grain that can be used in savory recipes just as much as other grains like brown rice, farro, or quinoa.

Cook oats in a low-sodium vegetable broth instead of water or milk, toss in some chopped vegetables such as baby spinach, mushrooms, and onions during cooking for a nutrition boost, as well as some added flavor. Top your bowl with a sprinkle of fresh parmesan cheese and a fried egg for added protein and staying power.

Looking for more savory breakfast ideas? You’ll love this Savory Beet & Cucumber Yogurt Parfait.

Make Ahead

No time to cook in the morning? No problem! Overnight oats are an easy, make-ahead way to still enjoy oatmeal even during those busy mornings. The oats are prepared the night before, and stored in the refrigerator overnight, allowing them to soak and soften by the morning. Overnight oats can be enjoyed cold, straight from the fridge, or heated for a minute or two if a warm breakfast is preferred.

Combine ½ cup of rolled oats with 1 cup of milk or milk alternative. Add an optional ¼ cup of plain Greek yogurt for a creamier texture with added protein. Mix in a ½ cup of your favorite fruit, such as fresh blueberries, slices of banana, or chopped apple. Add 2 tablespoons of nuts or seeds like chopped walnuts, chia seeds, ground flaxseed, or hemp seeds for a dose of healthy fats and fiber. Stir the mixture together, and store in a bowl or mason jar with a lid in the refrigerator overnight, and it will be ready to go when you are in the morning.

Change up your cool and creamy oats with a chia pudding, such as this Orange Cream Pie Chia Seed Pudding.

Add Healthy Fats

Do you eat a bowl of oatmeal only to find yourself hungry again an hour later? The key to making oatmeal more filling is to include a source of healthy fats in your morning meal. Fats are richer in calories than carbohydrates or proteins, which is why they are also more satisfying. Our bodies also need fats for a number of reasons, such as absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, cell growth, hormone production, and temperature regulation.

Add a serving of healthy fats to your oats such as a tablespoon of nut or seed butter or 1 ounce of chopped nuts or seeds. You can even add sliced avocado or a drizzle of olive oil, especially if you are going the savory route.

Looking for more breakfast recipes full of healthy fats? You’ll definitely want to try these Sunny Side Up Avocado Toasts.

Utilize Spices

Herbs and spices can upgrade your oatmeal instantly without the need for added sodium or calories. Sprinkling in cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice can give your oats a sweet flavor without any added sugars. Warming spices such as cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg will not only flavor enhance your oatmeal, but they will also fill your entire kitchen with the delicious smell of autumn.

Opting for savory oats? Fresh herbs like dill, parsley, or green onion are a delicious finishing touch. If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, dried versions and spice blends such as Italian seasoning work just as well.

Did you know spices can even help you maintain your weight? Here’s 6 Herbs & Spices to Help You Lose Weight.

Add Egg Whites

It may sound odd, but adding egg whites is a genius way for how to make oatmeal taste good. While the egg whites may not add much flavor, stirring them into the oats during the cooking process creates a fluffy, light texture, not to mention a hefty dose of added protein. During the last couple of minutes of cooking, stir in 4 egg whites, or ¼ cup to the oats, stirring constantly until combined. Top with a serving of healthy fats to make this meal even more filling.

Want even more egg ideas? Add this Cherry Tomato Ricotta Frittata to your breakfast routine!

Opt for Steel Cut Oats

If you have the time in the morning, reaching for steel cut oats can easily upgrade your morning meal. Steel cut oats, or Irish/Scottish oats are less processed than rolled, instant, or quick-cooking oatmeal. The oats are chopped instead of rolled, giving them a chewier, nuttier texture.

Since these are less processed, they do require a longer cooking time than other oat varieties, but are higher in fiber and lower on the glycemic index. Steel cut oats take around 20-30 minutes to cook, but do come in quick-cooking varieties to speed up the process.

Looking to add more protein to your breakfasts? Here’s 10 High-Protein Breakfasts to Keep You Fuller Longer.

What are some of your favorite oatmeal toppings?

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