More ways to love oatmeal
Oatmeal is a comfort food that can be prepared in a variety of ways and at different times of day. It isn’t just for breakfast anymore.

By: Body - Performance Nutrition - 11/15/2018

Oatmeal is a comfort food that can be prepared and eaten in a variety of ways and at different times of day depending on how you serve it.  It contains soluble fiber, which can keep you fuller longer and boost performance while helping to lower blood cholesterol.

Choose from steel-cut oats (regular or quick-cooking), which provide a nutty texture, or rolled oats, which are available in a variety of thicknesses:  regular or old-fashioned (thickest), quick-cooking (thinner), and instant (thinnest).  Avoid instant varieties, which usually have large amounts of sugar and sodium added.  Try the recipes and flavoring suggestions below.

Sweet Toppings

  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, or cocoa powder

  • Protein powder, peanut butter or other nut butters for added protein

  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts or macadamia nuts

  • Fruit: dried fruits such as apricots, raisins, cranberries, figs and dates, or fresh fruit such as apples, bananas, pears, tropical fruits, or berries

  • Add a little honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, or agave for extra sweetness

Savory Toppings

Turn oatmeal into a savory meal by adding:

  • Salty nuts such as peanuts

  • Cheddar cheese and rosemary

  • Caramelized onions with a cooked egg on top

  • Cooked, marinated beef or chicken, plus chopped scallions

Baked Oatmeal

  • Stir together 2 cups rolled oats, 1cup skim milk, 1 egg, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, ½–1 tsp cinnamon, and ¼ tsp salt.

  • Add ½ cup shredded apple and ¼ cup raisins or equal amounts mashed bananas and blueberries, if desired.

  • Spread this mixture into a greased loaf pan or a 6-cup muffin tin.

  • Bake uncovered at 350° for 20 minutes or until set.  Cut loaf into slices and serve with skim or low-fat milk, yogurt, or almond milk.  You can eat it on the go or freeze the slices or muffins for a quick meal or snack later.

Overnight Oatmeal

Layer the following basic ingredients in a to-go container:

  • ½ cup rolled or steel-cut oats

  • ½ cup low-fat milk (any type milk works)

  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt

  • ½ cup grated or chopped fruit

  • 1 tsp sweetener

  • 1 Tbsp chopped nuts

  • Refrigerate overnight. In the morning stir up to mix layers and enjoy.

Customize overnight oatmeal to your taste.  You can search online for different recipes, but here's an idea to get you started:

The Patriot:  After adding the oats, milk, and yogurt to the container, drizzle with 1 tsp honey.  Add sliced strawberries, slivered toasted almonds, and blueberries:  Red, White, and Blue!

Crock-Pot Oatmeal

Let your rice cooker or crockpot do the work.  This cooking method creates a different texture from overnight oatmeal.

  • Add oats and water/milk in a 1:2 ratio (½ cup oats to 1 cup water or low-fat milk).

  • Add chopped fruit.

  • Cook on Low setting for 6–8 hours or follow your rice cooker's instructions (using the porridge setting).

  • Portion into individual serving bowls or containers.

  • Add nuts as well as other toppings.

Oatmeal Granola

  • Preheat oven to 300°.

  • Combine ¼ cup honey or maple syrup, ¼ cup canola oil, and ½ teaspoon vanilla in a small bowl.

  • In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups rolled oats, ½ cup shredded coconut, ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp salt, and ½ cup nuts (slivered or chopped almonds, pecans, or walnuts).

  • Gradually stir in honey mixture, mix well, and spread onto a greased sheet pan.

  • Bake for 30 minutes, checking often so it doesn't overcook.  Stir at the halfway point. Cool completely and add dried fruit, if desired.  Store in an airtight jar.

Oatmeal Pancakes

  • Combine 1 cup rolled oats, 2 eggs, 1 cup lowfat cottage cheese, and 2 tsp vanilla in a blender. Blend until smooth.

  • Pour ¼ cup batter per pancake onto a heated, greased griddle.

  • Flip with a spatula when the batter bubbles, and cook until golden brown on both sides.

  • Serve with fruit and syrup.


Enjoy this tasty breakfast of Swiss origin. Mix the following:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

  • 1 cup nuts (almonds, pecans, and/or walnuts)

  • 1 cup seeds (pumpkin and/or sunflower)

  • 1 cup dried fruit (raisins and/or cherries) 

Store in an airtight container.  Scoop ½ cup of this mix into a cup or bowl. Add ½ cup milk and one grated, unpeeled apple.  Stir.  Let sit 5 minutes or up to overnight.  Traditionally this cereal mix is eaten cold, but it can also be warmed.

Shopping List

Purchase the following items in sizes to suit your family's needs.  Some might be staples in your home.  If not, consider having them on hand for easy family meals.

  • Oatmeal, rolled or steel cut

  • Fruit—a variety of fresh and dried, such as apples, bananas, and raisins

  • Nuts and seeds—a variety such as pecans, almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds

  • Herbs and spices—cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, etc.

  • Sweeteners—honey, maple syrup, agave, etc.

  • Nut butters—peanut, almond, etc.

  • Dairy—skim or lowfat milk, lowfat or nonfat plain Greek yogurt, and lowfat cottage cheese

For more oatmeal recipes, visit the Whole Grains Council website, where you can find more recipes and information on oats.

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