8 Ways To Make A Bowl Of Plain Oatmeal Taste So Much Better

Oatmeal is a versatile and nutritious breakfast staple, beloved for its heart-healthy properties and ability to keep you full throughout the morning. However, a plain bowl of oatmeal can sometimes feel a bit bland. The good news is that with a few simple additions and creative tweaks, you can transform your oatmeal into a delicious, flavor-packed meal. Here are eight ways to make a bowl of plain oatmeal taste so much better.

1. Add Fresh Fruits

Why It Works

Fresh fruits not only add a burst of flavor and natural sweetness to your oatmeal but also pack in additional nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. Fruits like berries, bananas, apples, and pears are particularly good choices.

How to Do It

  • Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are excellent additions. Simply wash and slice them before adding to your bowl.
  • Bananas: Slice bananas and stir them into your oatmeal for a creamy texture and sweet flavor.
  • Apples and Pears: Chop these fruits into small pieces and either add them raw for a crunchy texture or cook them with a bit of cinnamon and water until they are soft.

Pro Tip

Mix and match fruits to find your perfect combination. Adding a handful of mixed berries with a sliced banana can create a delightful mix of flavors.

2. Incorporate Nuts and Seeds

Why It Works

Nuts and seeds add a crunchy texture, healthy fats, protein, and a variety of minerals. They can make your oatmeal more filling and nutritious.

How to Do It

  • Almonds, Walnuts, and Pecans: Chop these nuts and sprinkle them over your oatmeal.
  • Chia Seeds and Flaxseeds: These seeds are nutrient-dense and can be stirred into your oatmeal for a slight crunch and added fiber.
  • Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds: These seeds add a different kind of crunch and are great for variety.

Pro Tip

Toast your nuts and seeds lightly before adding them to enhance their flavor and crunchiness.

3. Sweeten Naturally

Why It Works

Natural sweeteners add sweetness without the need for refined sugars, which can spike your blood sugar levels.

How to Do It

  • Honey and Maple Syrup: Drizzle a small amount over your oatmeal for a touch of sweetness.
  • Stevia: A natural, zero-calorie sweetener that can be used to sweeten your oatmeal without adding sugar.
  • Dates and Figs: Chop these dried fruits and stir them in. They will soften and sweeten your oatmeal naturally.

Pro Tip

Use sweeteners sparingly and taste as you go to avoid over-sweetening.

4. Enhance with Spices

Why It Works

Spices can transform the flavor profile of your oatmeal, making it more interesting and flavorful without adding any calories.

How to Do It

  • Cinnamon: A classic spice for oatmeal that adds warmth and sweetness.
  • Nutmeg and Cloves: Use sparingly as they are quite strong, but they add a lovely aromatic flavor.
  • Cardamom: Adds a unique, slightly citrusy flavor.
  • Ginger: Fresh or powdered ginger can add a spicy kick.

Pro Tip

Mix spices together to create your custom oatmeal spice blend. A combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves is particularly festive and aromatic.

5. Mix in Dairy or Plant-Based Milk

Why It Works

Cooking your oatmeal in milk instead of water makes it creamier and more flavorful. Plant-based milks can also add unique flavors.

How to Do It

  • Cow’s Milk: Adds a creamy texture and a bit of protein.
  • Almond Milk: Has a slightly nutty flavor and is lower in calories.
  • Coconut Milk: Adds a rich, tropical flavor.
  • Oat Milk: Enhances the oat flavor and is very creamy.

Pro Tip

Try a combination of water and milk for a balance of creaminess and calorie control. For example, use half water and half almond milk.

6. Include Savory Ingredients

Why It Works

Savory oatmeal is a great way to mix things up and can be just as delicious as its sweet counterpart.

How to Do It

  • Cheese: Stir in some shredded cheddar or parmesan for a savory twist.
  • Eggs: Top your oatmeal with a poached or fried egg for extra protein and a savory flavor.
  • Vegetables: Sautéed spinach, mushrooms, or cherry tomatoes can add a savory dimension.

Pro Tip

Season your savory oatmeal with a bit of salt and pepper, and add a dash of hot sauce for an extra kick.

7. Stir in Yogurt

Why It Works

Yogurt adds creaminess, protein, and a slight tanginess to your oatmeal, making it richer and more satisfying.

How to Do It

  • Greek Yogurt: High in protein and very creamy, Greek yogurt is a great addition.
  • Flavored Yogurt: Vanilla or fruit-flavored yogurts can add sweetness and flavor.
  • Plant-Based Yogurt: Almond, coconut, or soy yogurts are good dairy-free options.

Pro Tip

Add yogurt after cooking your oatmeal to maintain its creamy texture and cool contrast against the warm oats.

8. Experiment with Flavor Extracts

Why It Works

Flavor extracts are a simple way to infuse your oatmeal with different flavors without adding extra calories or sugar.

How to Do It

  • Vanilla Extract: Adds a warm, sweet flavor that pairs well with almost any oatmeal topping.
  • Almond Extract: Adds a nutty flavor that complements fruits and nuts.
  • Coconut Extract: Provides a tropical twist.

Pro Tip

Start with a small amount (about 1/4 teaspoon) and adjust to taste, as extracts can be quite potent.

Conclusion

Plain oatmeal is a blank canvas with endless possibilities. By adding fresh fruits, nuts, natural sweeteners, spices, milk, savory ingredients, yogurt, and flavor extracts, you can transform your morning bowl into a delightful, flavorful meal that you’ll look forward to eating. Not only do these additions make your oatmeal taste better, but they also enhance its nutritional value, making your breakfast more satisfying and beneficial for your health. So, next time you make oatmeal, get creative and experiment with these delicious ideas to make your breakfast bowl truly exceptional.

FAQs

  1. Can I prepare these oatmeal variations the night before?
    Yes, many of these additions can be incorporated into overnight oats. Simply combine your oats with milk or yogurt and your chosen toppings, then refrigerate overnight.
  2. Are these oatmeal enhancements suitable for kids?
    Absolutely! Adjust the flavors and toppings according to your child’s preferences. Sweet fruits and a drizzle of honey are usually kid-friendly choices.
  3. Can I use instant oats for these recipes?
    Yes, instant oats can be used, though the texture may differ slightly. Adjust the liquid and cooking time as per the package instructions.
  4. How can I make my oatmeal more filling?
    Adding protein-rich ingredients like nuts, seeds, yogurt, and milk can make your oatmeal more filling and help keep you satiated longer.
  5. What’s the healthiest way to sweeten oatmeal?
    Using natural sweeteners like fresh fruits, honey, or maple syrup in moderation is a healthy way to add sweetness without relying on refined sugar.

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