When some people think of oatmeal, the first thing they think of is the typical bowl of oats mixed with banana coins and brown sugar. While this is a tasty and nutritious way to start the day, there are so many more things you can add to it to keep you full until lunch time and give your body even more nutrients! Oatmeal is an excellent fiber and mineral source, and contains some protein. However, you can easily up the protein and healthy fats in your breakfast with a few easy to access ingredients!

cereal, porridge, oatmeal, milk, sweet, muesli, oatmeal cereal, corn, granola, oat, cornflakes
Gabby Phi

These days, plant-based foods are all the rave, and the following cheap, nutrient-rich nuts and seeds are conveniently sold in various places nowadays. Not only are they good sources of protein, but they also combine deliciously in a bowl of oatmeal. They'll add a beautiful, delicious crunch you didn't even know you were missing! Try these out and be surprised at how your oatmeal game completely changes forever. 

P.S.: The toppings listed below are listed in no particular order!

1. Sunflower Seeds

sunflower, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, cereal, sunflower seeds, vegetable
Emily Stamp

Sunflower seeds are so underrated. Not only are they great on their own, but they are also super yum made into a butter, commonly known as Sunbutter. Both the seed and its butter are delicious added onto your oatmeal bowl, and provide a great load of nutrition: 1/4 cup has about 5.5 grams of protein, and is high in Vitamin E and selenium, two nutrients with potent antioxidant capacity. Talk about a booming bowl!

Oatmeal topping idea: Blackberry sunflower oats - Fresh or frozen blackberries, a tablespoon of Sunbutter, and lots of cinnamon.

#SpoonTip: When Sunbutter is added to baked products, it turns them green! Great trick for festive and nutritious goodies for Saint Patrick's Day!

2. Ground Flaxseeds

dairy product, milk, spread, sweet, cream
Savannah Carter

These seeds are famous today for serving as egg replacers in vegan baking when mixed with warm water. However, what I love the most about flaxseeds is their naturally nutty flavor -- I genuinely love the savory kick it gives my oatmeal bowl. Of course, we can't deny their incredible status in the nutrition world: adding two tablespoons to your oatmeal will add 2.6 grams of protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids in the form of ALA, an essential nutrient your body doesn't produce on its own. 

Oatmeal topping idea: Peach cobbler oats - Two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds mixed in, fresh or frozen peach slices, a hefty shake of nutmeg, and a drizzle of honey.

#SpoonTip: Make sure to eat your flaxseeds ground to ensure they get digested well by your body and you can take advantage of all their awesome benefits!

3. Pistachios

vegetable, pistachio, nut
Ally Tobler

Okay, are we going to talk about how these little guys happen to be some of the most addicting nuts on the planet? Seriously, I can't open up a bag of shelled pistachios without eating a good load of them. And of course, their deep green color is beautifully easy on the eyes. One ounce of pistachios contains 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and lots of Vitamin B6, potassium, and other antioxidant compounds. Your body will be just as thankful as your taste buds for adding these crunchy delights on your dreamy breakfast oats. 

Oatmeal topping idea: Chocolate pistachio oats - 1 tablespoon of cacao powder mixed in, 1 ounce of pistachios, banana coins (optional), and a drizzle of maple syrup. 

4. Chia Seeds

Becky Hughes

There's a reason chia seeds are found everywhere lately...they have everything going for them. Like flaxseeds, they are sometimes used as egg replacers in vegan baking when mixed with warm water, since they tend to swell up in the presence of water and work excellently as binders. (Another reason people eat chia pudding for breakfast, too!) However, besides this, they also contain good amounts of protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and calcium per serving. Winning all around. Add these to you oats when cooking and the'll inflate and you won't even taste them, or add them as a topping for some crunchy goodness. 

Oatmeal topping idea: Apple pie chia oats - 2 tablespoons of chia seeds mixed in when cooking, half a red apple (cubed), a handful of walnuts, and a hefty dose of cinnamon and nutmeg. 

5. Pumpkin Seeds

Phillip Massey

For no particular reason, I wasn't immersed in the jovial, wondrous magic that are pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas) until recently. I saw a huge bag at my local Costco for a low price, and knew I had to try them. Plus, their nutrition facts had me totally convinced: a mere ounce of them contain 7 grams of protein, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, and copper. Now, I can't go a few days without putting these on top of my oatmeal, as well as my salads and trail mixes. No joke, I even eat them on their own as a snack. Additionally, pumpkin seeds can also be made into a creamy butter that will also increase your oatmeal bowl satisfaction by a lot. Try it, you won't regret it!

Oatmeal topping idea: Berry pie pumpkin seed oats - A mix of your favorite berries (frozen or fresh), 1 tablespoon of chopped pecans, and 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds.

6. Almonds

coffee, cereal, chocolate, nut
Stephanie Lee

I know I don't have to go into the versatility of almonds. On their own, they make the best snack that quickly curbs hunger to the side. But, they are also great in almond milk, almond flour, almond cheese, and my personal favorite, almond butter. Okay, okay, we get it...they're awesome. And one ounce contains 6 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fiber, and a good amount of healthy fats, Vitamin E, and iron. But have you even tried almond butter on oatmeal? The biggest game changer in the history of existence. I don't know about you, but I absolutely don't want to think of what life was before I added a heaping tablespoon of this nut butter to my oats. 

Oatmeal topping idea: Banana almond butter oats - 1 banana (chopped into coins), 1 tablespoon of almond butter, lots of cinnamon, and 2-3 chopped dates.

7. Sesame Seeds

cereal, porridge, milk, sesame seed, sweet
Molly Gamache

You might know them as the stars of the ever-so-famous Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Seasoning. I know them as the perfect beauties that ground up make the base to all of my favorite sauces: tahini. However, don't think that sesame seeds or tahini can only be part of savory dishes; both happen to be fantastic on oats, increasing the creaminess and flavor factor by a lot. A great source of protein, fiber, iron, calcium, and Vitamin E, sesame seeds are just as much a nutritional powerhouse as they are a flavor powerhouse. You won't regret sprinkling some on your breakfast tomorrow, or mixing in a dollop of tahini. 

Oatmeal topping idea: Tahini strawberry chocolate chip oats - 1 cup of chopped strawberries, a sprinkle of chocolate chips, a drizzle of tahini, and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

Add one or a few of these to your oatmeal the next time you whip up a bowl after waking up, and watch your eyes light up in amazement. You've officially found seven new ways to take America's favorite breakfast from good to great, and you should feel very lucky.

Happy breakfast-ing!