There’s no denying that instant oatmeal is a college staple — it’s cheap, easy and fairly hard to screw up. But having the same flavor for two weeks straight while you slowly make your way through a box can get old, and quite frankly, a little bland. Of course you can always pick up a box of Quaker’s Peaches and Cream or Cinnamon and Spice, but how they get “cream” in powder form is one of life’s greatest mysteries and I guarantee you they’re adding more than just cinnamon and spice. Here are a few suggestions of how to vamp up instant oatmeal without all the words you can’t pronounce.

 1. Add Chocolate Chips

Photo by Devon Carlson

So simple, yet I went through the first 19 years of my life without ever thinking to do this. Add chocolate chips to any oatmeal flavor (except maybe the Chocolate Chip flavor) before putting it in the microwave and voilá: the chocolate chips melt into ooey, gooey chocolately goodness. You can even do this with peanut butter chips too.

 2. Add Nuts or Dried Fruit

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This is another one of Quaker’s flavors that is beyond easy to make yourself. The best part is that it’s customizable so every day can have its own mix. Try mixing in pecans or walnuts, dried apricots, raisins, dates or cranberries. Any combination is a solid guarantee of deliciousness.

 3. Spice It Up

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If Cinnamon and Spice is your go-to, then this one is for you. Rather than buying the Cinnamon and Spice flavor with the already added sugars, make a packet of the original flavor and add a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. If you’re a pumpkin pie fan, pumpkin pie spice might just be for you. Just remember — less is more.

 4. Fresh Fruit

Photo by Delissa Handoko

There’s no reason not to add some freshness to a meal pre-packed with preservatives. Fresh bananas, apples, strawberries or berries can take any breakfast to the next level. For some sweetness, add a touch of honey, a teaspoon of brown sugar or a little maple syrup.

 5. A Shot of Espresso

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So you’ve pulled an all-nighter. Your test’s in an hour, and you’re banking on one last burst of energy to get you through it. You figure oatmeal will give you the energy you need, but there’s something missing — coffee. Try stirring in a shot of espresso after cooking your oatmeal. Not only will it be coffee flavored, but the extra caffeine will give you that boost you need.