Can you remember the first time you ate oatmeal? I do! It gave a bad first impression!
I did not grow up eating oatmeal. It just was not a part of our food repertoire. Instead, I would eat foods like eggs or cereal for breakfast.
At some point in my early adult life, living on my own for the first time when attending college, I finally gave oatmeal a try. I thought it was disgusting! The texture was strange to me, the flavor was bland to say the very least. Worst of all, I was hungry again soon after eating it.
Here’s the thing about oatmeal that I did not realize until many years later: it needs to be dressed up!!! Not only do you need more than just oats + water to make it tasty, you also need more ingredients to make it filling.
First, here is my basic hot oatmeal recipe. Notice that I cook it with milk, it makes a big difference!
- 1/2 cup rolled (traditional) oats
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup milk (I use 2% dairy usually)
- 1/2 tsp sweetener
- Combine all ingredients into a microwave safe bowl.
- Microwave for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.
I do caution that depending on the depth of the bowl, the oats might spill over. Keep an eye on them after the 2 minute mark.
Don’t skip the sweetener when using plain plant-based milk or dairy milk.. Unless you naturally have an aversion to sweetness, don’t be afraid of a teaspoon or two of sugar (or honey). Traditional oats do not have sugar added to them by manufacturers, you get to decide how sweet you want them.
If you use a sweet milk, like vanilla soy milk, perhaps you might not need to add sweetener.
Now, let’s go over how I build a good bowl.
Dressing Up the Oats:
- Add chia seeds: I like to add between 1-2 tablespoon of chia seeds. Chia seeds are nutrition powerhouses. Additionally, they gel up and help you feel fuller. Honestly, I can’t even taste them. If the gelling quality weirds you out, try hemp seeds instead.
- Add spices: try mixing in 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract before cooking the oats. Or top your bowl with cinnamon powder. Not only does cinnamon have health-promoting properties, but it adds a deep rich smell and taste to the oats.
- Add fat: this is important! Having a source of fat in your oatmeal will keep you satisfied longer. Fat foods like peanut butter will also add incredible taste. Try different nuts and seeds too.
- Add fruit: to me, this is what makes a bowl of oatmeal a complete meal. Fruit will add texture, flavor, fiber, and nutrients to your oats. I especially love adding berries and banana.
- If seasonal berries are not available, try adding frozen fruit. You can add the fruit before or after the cooking process, depending on your ability to chew cold foods.
Once you start playing around with the add-ins, I hope you see how easy it is to build a bowl of oats that is delicious and actually filling!
This bowl has raspberry chia pudding instead of plain chia seeds! Find the recipe for the chia pudding here.
Instead of chia seeds, I added hemp seeds. In this instance I only had banana, so I added a tablespoon of mixed berry jam to amp up the flavor.