build it better: oatmeal


Oatmeal is often a breakfast staple this time of year and for good reason. It fills you up, keeps you warm, and for me, is definitely associated with chilly winter mornings as a child.  I have to admit, since moving to a warmer climate, I haven’t had oatmeal as often this “winter” but it is still something I eat on a regular basis.

Oats are a healthy option for breakfast because they contain fiber (both soluble and insoluble), protein, are 100% whole grain and contain a whole slew of minerals.

Picking the Oats:

  • Steel-cut oats are best  – they are the whole oat groat which is then cut in pieces instead of flattened meaning it takes longer to digest which helps you feel full longer. They are essentially the least processed form of oats and are sometimes called Irish Oats. They do take longer to cook, but result in a chewy oat.
  • Rolled, Quick or Instant Oats are also good choices.
  • Instead of using the flavored packets which contain hydrogenated oils, corn syrup and a ton of preservatives, try making your own and topping it as you like! You can even make a big batch to eat throughout the week.

Topping Ideas:

  • Nut Butter: Peanut, Almond, Cashew, etc.
  • Sweeteners: Maple Syrup, Honey, Agave, Brown Sugar, Stevia, etc.
  • Cinnamon, Nutmeg, etc.
  • Fresh or Frozen Fruits
  • Shredded Coconut or Coconut Oil

Ways to Add Protein:

  • Nut Butters
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Egg
  • Protein Powder
  • Milk
Recipes to Try: 

What do you put in or on you oats? 


  1. says

    Since I am Greek and live in Greece I am at the source of yogurt lol! I love your idea of pairing oatmeal with it! It is nutritious and full of fibers. You have a very interesting collection of posts in your blog!

    • Emily says

      It was in Greece that I fell in love with Greek Yogurt! I love the full-fat versions that I had there – they are harder to find here – everything is fat-free!

  2. says

    Oatmeal is my go-to breakfast year round! Lately I’ve been eating it mixed with vanilla almond milk and a little bit of coffee for flavor!

  3. says

    I haven’t had oatmeal since being diagnosed with celiac disease. I really want to with some gluten-free oats because I worry that I’m missing some important nutrients.

    I love peanut butter on oats. So good.

  4. Dorothea says

    Fast cooking steel cut oats are available at Trader Joe’s. I cook them as directed and for toppings go to my Greek heritage and add crumbled feta and a little butter or Earth Balance spread. It makes a delicious savory breakfast or anytime meal. My grandmother and mom made this with bulgur wheat and we call it trachana.

    Also I love these Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats Pancakes:
    1 1/4 c.quick steel cut oats
    1 c. non-fat plain yogurt
    1 tsp. honey or sugar
    1/4 c. whole wheat flour
    1/4 c. all purpose white flour
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. salt
    2 lg. eggs , beaten or eggbeaters
    1/4 c. chopped walnuts

    In lg. bowl, combine oats, yogurt, milk & honey. Stir in flours, baking soda, salt. Add eggs, mix well. Add nuts. Batter will be thick.
    Ladle about 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto hot griddle. Cook 3 min. one side, 2 min. other side.
    Yield: 12 4″ pancakes

  5. says

    This is such a good kick in the pants to change my morning routine. I have been eating the same oatmeal with a few nuts and dried fruit tossed in every morning for the last month and a half – it’s time for a change!

  6. Cherie says

    I top my oatmeal with about 1/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt and 1 cup frozen strawberries that have been thawed in the microwave, cut up, and 1-2 t. Stevia added. It’s almost like eating strawberries and cream.

  7. Rebecca says

    I add sunflower seeds, dry roasted almonds, toasted coconut flakes, virgin coconut oil, dried goji berries, fresh blueberries, cinnamon, natural vanilla bean extract, and almond milk.
    Sometimes I add in stevia or honey if i’m craving sugar.

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