Oats. The ubiquitous breakfast food. They're ideal for the college student – easy to make and filled with fiber, perfect for a quick bite before long library sessions. Best of all, they're ridiculously cheap. However, most people quickly tire of them because they tend to stick to the classic toppings of fruit and nuts. Yet oats have so much more potential than being condemned to this boring preparation. Here are 5 different ways to enjoy oats for any meal, from breakfast to dessert.

1. As an on the go breakfast pudding

Alixandra Rutnik

Of the latest crazes to hit teenage girls’ Pinterests, I've found that overnight oats are one of the few food trends to live up to the hype. They're super filling and only take five minutes to make the night before, so are perfect for when you have to run out in the morning. They come in millions of varieties, but check out these recipes. My favourite way is with greek yogurt, almond milk, chia seeds, vanilla powder, and cashew butter. 

2. As dinner...two ways

Emily Fluet

Savoury oats. The first time I suggested it to my friends, they looked at me like I was insane. I’ll admit, it’s a bit of weird concept but just think of it as a replacement for rice or quinoa. One delicious way is topped with prosciutto, parmesan, asparagus, spinach, and a poached egg. You could also go with a Mediterranean theme and top with hummus, sundried tomatoes, cheese, and veggies of choice. For inspiration or if you're ever in NYC, check out this cafe, which serves exclusively oatmeal for both main meals and desserts!

3. As a crust

Emily Fluet

I love my pie and cheesecake more than anything (strawberry, chocolate, pumpkin– you name it). Yet I try to stay away from white flour and refined sugar, making it tricky to find a good crust. 

Most gluten free pie crusts tend to be purely nut based, and they lack the crunch necessary to complement gooey pie fillings. However, the granola crust on these mini cheesecakes is the perfect replacement for conventional crusts.

4. As a dessert

Emily Fluet

Ice cream and oatmeal. The greatest food combination I've come up with while bored, hungry, and avoiding econometrics at all costs. You can top your oatmeal with any ice cream flavour, but if you want a dessert that tastes like autumn in a bowl, try it with salted caramel ice cream (I love Oppo and then feel like this is healthy enough to reasonably have for breakfast), poached apples (try these unreal microwave only baked cinnamon apples), pecans, and loads of cinnamon. Stir and dream of red leaves and hay bales! 

5. As a snack

Recently, I was heading to a family wedding for the weekend and wanted to make something easy to have while traveling and in the hotel. My flatmate swears by bars, and so I gave them a try. Made with oats, almond butter, banana, and apple butter, they're vegan with no added sugar. Yet they definitely don't taste like it! Being in the celebratory mood, I swapped out the raisins for chocolate chips. (I use sweetened with stevia) Unfortunately, the bars never made it to the hotel room as they were so addictive I ate them all on the plane.  

From smoothies to edible cookie dough, there's tons of other ways you can incorporate oatmeal into your diet. Being so nutritious and cheap, it deserves a spot on your shopping list. And with just a little creativity, oats can be so much more than just your morning porridge!