If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they hated oatmeal, I could probably pay off all of my student debt right now. As amazing as that would be, I want everyone to start telling me that they love oatmeal. Luckily, I have acquired some helpful oatmeal hacks to pimp your breakfast: from cooking methods, to consistency helpers, to the perfect toppings, you'll be a Quaker Oats connoisseur in no time.

HACK 1: Stove Top vs. Microwave

Miranda Knight

Stove top is always the winner when it comes to oatmeal because you get a better consistency, more control over your cooking, and no worries about how much radiation your microwave might really be giving you. If you have the time and energy to make your meal on the stove, do it; however, I understand #collegelife and the big role microwaves play in it.

If you decide to make your oatmeal in the microwave, use water rather than dairy or plant milks. Contrary to what you might think, using water as the liquid in microwaved oats makes it creamier than its dairy or nut-based counterparts. Why? Science probably.

HACK 2: Go Bananas 

Miranda Knight

A big part of why people don't seem to enjoy oatmeal is because of its bland taste (cardboard seems to be the most common comparison, because I'm sure we've all tried cardboard). Usually, sweeteners are a go-to for those who must mask this "blah" taste with something else, but refined sugars can add extra calories to your meal and are not nutritiously beneficial.

Thankfully, bananas are the answer to every taste bud's prayers. All you need to do is mash up a half or whole ripe banana (aka it should be spotted, which means it is ripe, sweeter, and will be creamier) and stir it into your oats as they cook on the stove. If you are microwaving your oats, stir in the mashed banana halfway through the cooking time. Voila! Creamier and naturally sweeter oatmeal.

HACK 3: Get Fruity

Miranda Knight

While mashed banana will give you a dose of fruit flavor and nutrition, adding in other fruits will totally up the game. If you want to have some fun with it, you can keep up with the seasonal fruits to theme your oatmeal for the time of the year, like slicing up persimmons in the fall. Another option would be reaching for the berries, like raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries, because they can give a tart flavor that works incredibly well with your banana-sweetened oatmeal. Plus, you'll be getting in all of those vitamins and antioxidants.

HACK 4: Get Lost in the Sauce

Any great bowl of oatmeal has some kind of melt-y, drizzle-y goodness, and the best options for this are nut butters, seed butters, or a chocolate sauce (homemade, of course).

Peanut butter is a classic, almond butter is the hippie friend, and the seed butter is for the folks with tree nut allergies.

If you're feeling extra fun, you can go for a homemade chocolate sauce by mixing together cacao powder and sugar, then pouring small amounts of warm water on top to achieve the desired consistency.

These all give an extra dimension of flavor to your oats and if you go for a nut butter, another level of creaminess!

#SpoonTip: If you're feeling indulgent, drizzle on some maple syrup or let a square of dark chocolate melt on top of your oatmeal.

HACK 5: Munch With A Crunch

Last-but-not-least on the list of oatmeal hacks are the final toppings. These should always give a crunch or chew to your breakfast oats to avoid having a one-dimensional consistency.

Options include nuts, such as walnuts or cashews, seeds, like chia or pumpkin, granola, or coconut chips. However, there's always room for innovation in this area; what matters most is that you are picking something that is good for your taste buds, good for your health, and good for giving a little crunch to your oats.

Bringing It All Together

Now that you know these life-changing five oatmeal hacks, you can successfully put them all together to make your ultimate bowl of oats. Between using bananas to make the consistency a creamy dream and fun toppings for a bearable taste, you'll be saying you can't live without oatmeal in no-time!

For a secret little tip for all you daring foodies: try grating some zucchini and cooking the shreds into your oats (ever heard of zoats?!) for some extra volume and health (and the same amazing taste, if you follow the other oatmeal hacks of course).

Your breakfast will never be the same.