Mornings are rough. Unless you’re getting Sabrina‘s hand fed to you by Ryan Gosling holding a puppy, getting out of bed can be the hardest thing you do all day. Luckily, things are about to change. This right here is your guide for how to take the plain average normal breakfast food known as oatmeal and make it something worth getting up for. When you learn how to use what you have in the most delicious way possible, I guarantee it will open up a world of wonder. Because, let’s be honest, what’s better than a big warm bowl of carbs to start the day?
1. The Basics
I know microwavable oatmeal seems like the easiest thing ever, and it is, but stove-top oats take only a little bit longer and allow you to do so much more. If you go with microwaveable, make sure it doesn’t have too much added sugar (oatmeal should be super healthy after all). Steel cut oats are basically old-fashioned/rolled oats before they get flattened (the main difference between the two is texture). They usually take longer to cook, but, of course, magical Trader Joe’s has a quick cook version.
2. The Healthy Add-Ins: Chia and Flax Seeds
Adding in one or two teaspoons of chia seeds or ground flaxseed meal (I use Bob’s Red Mill but Frogro brand works) will add a bunch of nutrients to give your oats a little health boost without really affecting the flavor. Just make sure you add a little extra water/milk since they’ll absorb some of what you put in. While these two ingredients make the oats more filling, they are totally unnecessary if you like it simple.
Berries are one of my favorite oatmeal add-in staples. The best thing to do is put them in while the oatmeal is cooking, usually a little after the oatmeal’s halfway done. When you add berries and let them cook, you give the oatmeal the potential to turn into a purple bowl of warm pie. I tend to wait until the very end to add strawberries (because they’re already so sweet), and I put blueberries in early on (because doing it that way adds a ton of color).
4. The Big Fruit
Slicing up a banana, apple, pear, peach, nectarine or whatever other fruit your heart desires is another way to add some more substance to your breakfast. My personal favorite is a banana, which I add in after the berries but while the oatmeal is still cooking so they get all sweet and mushy.
5. The Nut Butters
Putting a nice dollop of any nut butter on your oats near the end will never be a bad idea. By that I mean you should definitely do it. FYI, berries + peanut butter = a PB&J (but better).
Okay, okay I know what you’re thinking. Nut butters AND nuts? Yes. If you toast some walnuts or pecans (pecans are definitely the winner in my book) and put them on your oatmeal while it cools, it simply adds to the dessert-like vibe that’s been showing up throughout this post.
7. The Last Touch
As long as you don’t make a cinnamon challenge out of your oatmeal, the more the merrier. Also I don’t know what’s in pumpkin pie spice, but on oatmeal (and in general) it’s just yummmmm.
Hopefully I’ve convinced you how amazing oatmeal can be once you open your mind and use a little imagination. But in case you need some more convincing, here are some oatmeal Instagrams to inspire and motivate: