You may not know this, but oatmeal is one of Mother’s Nature’s favorite children. Why else would she bestow upon it the powers to help regulate diabetes, the fiber to assist in heart health, and the extra-special soluble fiber β-glucan (seriously, that’s not made up).
One cup of cooked oatmeal contains four grams of fiber and only 166 calories. Fiber, as you may know, promotes heart and gut health and helps improve blood-sugar levels. If you’re not eating enough fiber, oatmeal is a great place to start.
Yet despite Mother’s Nature’s preference for this near-holy whole grain, oatmeal is still, well, bland. Here’s exactly how to cook oatmeal so that it has some texture and then 16 ways to elevate that oatmeal to bust breakfast boredom and wake up your morning bowl.
Step 1: Prep your base.
Skip instant oatmeal, which always turns soggy and soupy.
Instead, turn to steel-cut oats, which are hearty and soak up liquid while retaining their slight chew. Yes, they take longer to cook, but that’s why it’s best to make them while you sleep.
In a medium-sized pot, add 2/3 cup steel-cut oats, a pinch of salt, and 1 3/4 cups water. Bring the water to a slight simmer (a few small bubbles breaking the surface) over medium heat, remove the pot from the heat, place a lid on it, and let the oats soak overnight.
Step 2: Add flavor.
In the morning, stir in a couple splashes of milk and any of the add-ins that follow. Then heat everything over medium low for 5 minutes, stirring a couple times. Transfer to a bowl and then apply your toppings. This makes enough for 2 servings.
Add: 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1 tsp instant coffee, 1/4 tsp cardamom
Top: 1 cup sliced strawberries, 1/4 cup chopped almonds
Add: 1/2 cup shredded carrot, 2 Tbsp dried currants, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp allspice
Top: 1/4 cup sliced pecans, 2 tsp maple syrup
Add: ⅓ cup chopped dried mango, 1 Tbsp chopped mint, 1 tsp grated fresh peeled ginger
Top: 2 Tbsp cashew butter
Add: 2 Tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes, 2 Tbsp sliced Kalamata olives, 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
Top: 1 fried egg, 1/4 cup crumbled feta
Add: 1 grated apple, 3/4 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp ground cloves
Top: 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Add: 1 tsp golden milk powder (Amazon has it), 2 Tbsp chia seeds, 2 tsp honey
Top: 1 cup chopped mango, 1/4 cup coconut chips
THE HOUNG DOG
Add: 1 mashed ripe banana, 2 Tbsp peanut butter, 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Top: 4 strips cooked bacon
Add: ⅓ cup chopped dried figs, 1 tsp orange zest, 1/2 tsp ginger powder
Top: 2 Tbsp tahini
Add: 1 tsp matcha powder, 2 Tbsp shredded coconut, 1/2 tsp ginger powder
Top: 1 cup chopped pineapple, 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
THE DARK NIGHT
Add: 1 oz chopped dark chocolate, 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Top: 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, 2 Tbsp dried tart cherries
Add: 1/4 cup raisins, 2 Tbsp bran, 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Top: 1 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
Add: 1 tsp lemon zest, 1/2 tsp ginger powder, 2 tsp honey
Top: ⅔ cup ricotta cheese, 1 cup blueberries
Add: 1/2 cup grated beet, 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Top: 1 cup raspberries, 2 Tbsp cacao nibs
SALMON AND SPINACH
Add: 1 cup baby spinach, 1/2 cup sliced roasted red pepper, 1 sliced scallion, 1/4 tsp black pepper
Top: 4 oz flaked smoked salmon, 2 Tbsp chopped dill
Add: 1/2 cup mashed sweet potato, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1/4 tsp nutmeg
Top: 2 Tbsp almond butter, 2 tsp maple syrup
Add: 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp chile garlic sauce, 1 tsp minced fresh ginger, 1/2 tsp fish sauce
Top: 2 links chopped cooked turkey sausage, 2 Tbsp sliced scallion greens
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