Nutrition Articles

No More Boring Oatmeal!

20 Ways to Turn Ordinary Oats into Something Special

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It’s 10 a.m., and your stomach starts that familiar growl, so you’re tempted to grab a snack. Trouble is, those hunger pangs tend to come at a time when you’re busy, so you’re likely to absentmindedly reach for something quick, which often translates to something high in sugar and calories.

The key to keeping those mid-morning growls at bay is to start the day with a smart breakfast, one that will sustain you until lunchtime. Many breakfast cereals, especially those that are sweetened or made with puffed grains like rice or corn, simply aren’t filling enough to get you through the first half of your day.

And if you skip breakfast? Forget it. You’ll be running on fumes way before lunchtime. Not only that, but you’ll miss out on a key source of fiber and vitamins that are commonly found in breakfast foods. According to the International Food Information Council, eating breakfast may boost alertness and concentration, and help reduce cholesterol. The IFIC also notes that eating whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk to start the day can help regulate insulin and digestion.

Want to maximize the benefits of that morning meal? Then think oatmeal. Here’s the deal: Oats have plenty of fiber (about 4 grams in each 1/2 cup uncooked serving) plus about 6 grams of protein. Not only will oatmeal help you feel fuller longer, but it has heart-health benefits as well. According to the Mayo Clinic, 3 grams of soluble fiber per day, the amount found in one bowl of oatmeal, can reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream. (Click here to learn about the differences between soluble and insoluble fiber and how much total fiber you need.)
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About The Author

Bryn Mooth Bryn Mooth
Bryn Mooth is an independent copywriter and journalist focused on food, wellness and design; she's also a Master Gardener and enthusiastic green thumb. She shares seasonal recipes, kitchen techniques, healthy eating tips and food wisdom on her blog

Member Comments

    Any oatmeal you have is fine, no point in gourmet unless you need it to feel "fad like", I guess. I fix eggs on the side, 1 serving of oatmeal never makes me not feel hungry early, need some protein, too. Peanut butter is not enough...... Thank goodness oatmeal is cheap. - 6/11/2016 8:21:51 AM
  • I make equal amounts of old fashioned oats and steel cut oats and mix them together with hemp hearts. It's got great texture, is very hardy, and "sticks" with ya for a long time. Keeps me from getting the mid-morning munchies. If I want something sweet, I either use powdered Nestle Quik or agave syrup. - 6/11/2016 4:10:22 AM
  • I am really starting to appreciate having steel cut oats in the morning, now pretty well a habit. Usually with blueberries or a banana. One of the reasons is that it takes some time to cook (10-15 minutes). I contrast this with a bowl of cereal which is virtually instant to eat meaning I can down two or three bowls in a few minutes. If it takes me 15 minutes to cook another helping, I won't do it. I'll just stop there, and that's far better for me. Eating steel cut oats in the morning has enabled us to rid our cupboards of cold cereal which I think is helping with my weight loss. - 5/2/2016 2:51:03 PM
  • I absolutely love oatmeal on the stove. So simple that it cooks while I am cutting up my fruit. Putting peanut butter in gives me extra protein and deliciousness. Try it with yogurt to the side..dipping each spoonful of your oatmeal concoction into the yogurt. Vanilla works well. - 10/13/2015 12:48:46 AM
  • I enjoy oatmeal, especially on a cold morning. But....., if I eat oatmeal, I have to have a protein snack around 10:00. Oatmeal does not stick with me. - 10/12/2015 10:21:42 AM
  • S without meaning to sound like a smart Alec where does plain rolled oats fit in the spectrum that's mostly whats for sale here it just says robin hood rolled oats on the bag . Also am I nuts or am I the only who eats them in a bowl cold with milk and some brown sugar? - 10/11/2015 10:27:16 PM
    Have loved oatmeal since I was a kid - it was always breakfast on Thursday! I usually make old-fashioned oats (3 minutes in the microwave!), but made steel cut in the Crock Pot on Sunday. They are good, but can't really see much difference between them and old-fashioned - and they have the same amount of calories and fiber - just a different texture.. - 10/2/2015 6:09:50 AM
    *I much prefer the "steel cut oats". *Just seems to have a much better flavor to me. *Steel cut oats takes longer to cook on stove top SO I do cook steel cut oats in the microwave. *AND, I am only cooking 1-serving! *ADVICE: Use a FAIRLY DEEP bowl because the oats does tend to "boil over". *I put a plate UNDER the "bowl". *THE PLATE CATCHES ANY OF THE "BOILED OVER" OATS AND ELIMINATES THE MESS! ;-) *I even put a paper towel on the plate and under the bowl - even easier to clean up in case of boiled over mess! **HINT: Try adding DRIED CRANBERRIES to the oats when cooking! ;-)
    - 8/24/2015 2:06:08 PM
  • Oatmeal for breakfast just leaves me hungry all day.

    I always have eggs and fruit or vegetables for breakfast instead. - 4/14/2015 10:49:41 AM
  • Great ideas! I like to either add an egg while I am cooking quick oats in the microwave, or add raisins. Be sure and break the yolk, and that it's heated through and firm, before you eat it. I make a crater in the oats, add the egg, then add just enough water until the water level is just to the egg. That only takes about a minute and it's really good. - 3/30/2015 10:43:48 PM
    I add a healthy dose of cinnamon to my oats before cooking, don't stir. & they cook up in the microwave wonderful! - 7/10/2014 8:31:24 AM
    Living in Canada means oatmeal with maple syrup. If you haven't tried it (with blueberries, raw sunflower seeds, cinnamon, etc. etc.), well, you must! - 5/13/2014 10:42:25 PM
  • I add a tablespoon of natural peanut butter to mine each morning. I put a spoonful in the bottom of my bowl and pour my hot oatmeal over it. It's additive ! - 11/18/2013 6:13:44 AM
  • I like apple cinnamon. I cook for one and do not like opening a large jar of applesauce or bottle of apple juice. I use the one snack pack size applesauce. I also buy the toddler size juice boxes, 6 oz., and will replace part of water with juice for apple flavor.

    also, try sugar free pancake syrup instead of maple syrup - 11/17/2013 1:33:43 PM
    Love oatmeal! I have a bowl most mornings. Quick to fix and delicious. And funny enough my dear mother would, as a child, practically have to force me. - 8/28/2013 8:19:50 PM

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