Oatmeal is such a good-for-you breakfast. Filling, comforting and healthy. It's a staple in our house for those simple reasons. It's great for heart health and keeps you full for hours on whole food carbs that will give you the energy you need to start your day. But, how can you make your oatmeal taste good, like really good? Never fear, keep reading and your morning oats will get the flavor they need.
Steel-Cut or Old-Fashioned?
Opt for steel cut oats or old-fashioned oatmeal, to ensure you're getting all the nutritional bang for your buck. Bob's Red Mill has quick-cooking steel cut oats that are ready in the same amount of time as regular old-fashioned oatmeal, but you don't lose out on the health benefits.
I like to combine the quick-cooking steel cut oats with the old-fashioned oats in the same pan. You get the chewiness from the steel cut oats and the tenderness of the old-fashioned oats. Plus, you save money, because the old-fashioned oats are usually more affordable.
Healthy Ways to Flavor Oatmeal
Oatmeal by itself is pretty blah and tasteless, but thankfully, there are many ways to jazz up the flavor in healthy ways. First of all, add a pinch of salt to your water when you're cooking your oatmeal. It makes a difference in the taste.
If you want, you can sweeten it with the sugar of your choice, refined or otherwise. Brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, agave nectar, brown rice syrup and coconut sugar all work well.
Dr. John McDougall, plant-based pioneer, suggests that if you're going to use sugar, add it to the top of your food so you taste it right away. You end up using less this way because the sweetness doesn't get hidden by being mixed into the food.
As far as ways to flavor oatmeal, you can play around with combinations of fruit + nuts + spice that you like. Typically, I recommend adding the fruit and spice to the oatmeal while it's cooking. For dried fruits, it helps them plump up and warm up.
For fresh fruits, like apples, it cooks them a bit so they are tender. The only fruits I would recommend adding only as a topping in the bowl are tropical fruits, like banana and mango.
For the nuts, you can toast them in the dry pan on the stove for added flavor. I prefer to add mine as a topping in the bowl, instead of stirring them in, but that's purely preference.
10 Ways to Spice up your Oatmeal
- Sliced bananas + maple syrup + hemp hearts
- Diced apples + cinnamon + walnuts
- Dried raisins + cinnamon + walnuts
- Dried cranberries + roasted pumpkin seeds/pepitas or pecans
- Strawberries and Cream: Strawberries + plant-based milk + hemp hearts
- Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries + sliced almonds + vanilla
- Peaches + pecans + ground cardamom
- Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal: Pepitas + homemade pumpkin spice syrup (refined sugar free!)
- Peaches and Cream: Diced peaches + plant-based milk + vanilla
- Your favorite fruit preserves + your favorite nuts
What are your favorite ways to add flavor to your oatmeal? Share in the comments below!
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