Ultimate Guide to Oatmeal Add-ins

It’s no secret that I’m absolutely passionate about oatmeal – it’s a breakfast powerhouse that often doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Oatmeal might seem plain at first glance, but trust me, it’s a canvas for all types of delicious flavors. Whether you prefer rolled oats or steel cut oats, here’s your ultimate guide to oatmeal add-ins!

ultimate guide to oatmeal add-ins

If you’ve been following this blog, you might recall my recent post on how to make oatmeal taste good. Today, I’m taking it a step further by exploring exciting and wholesome add-ins that can turn your morning oatmeal into an irresistible (and nourishing) breakfast, snack or lunch.

Ultimate Guide to Oatmeal Add-ins

Introduction to Oatmeal Add-ins

If you’re new to the world of oatmeal add-ins, the most important thing to know is that you’re spoiled for choice. Do you like chocolate? Add some dark chocolate chips. Can’t get enough nuts? Add chopped walnuts. Plus, each addition has nutritional benefits that will help you stay healthy and energized.

The benefits of enhancing your oatmeal

The number one benefit of mixing add-ins into your oatmeal is that it makes it much more enjoyable. The combination of different textures and flavors simply enhances the overall taste.

However, elevating your favorite oatmeal with wholesome ingredients isn’t just about making it taste better – it’s a game-changer for your health journey. Oatmeal is already a fantastic source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, but the real deal lies in the potential to amplify its nutritional value with add-ins such as dried fruits, extracts, superfoods, and more.

There are add-ins that can help you lose weight by keeping you full for longer, support good blood sugar control (shoutout to healthy fats!), and even maintain and repair muscles after a workout. That’s why they are a must in my morning oatmeal!

Overview of popular ingredients to consider

Let’s dive into the heart of the matter—choosing the right ingredients to amplify your oatmeal experience. I’ve broken down the options into different categories to help you mix and match according to your taste and dietary preferences:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fresh fruits
  • Dried fruits and natural sweeteners
  • Yogurt and dairy add-ins
  • Protein powders
  • Spices and extracts
  • Cocoa and chocolate
  • Superfoods and grains
  • Savory add-ins

Whether you’re a fan of sweet, spicy or savory flavors, there’s an add-in for every taste!

Nutritious Add-ins for Oatmeal

All the add-ins I’ll mention in this post have their fair share of vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy goodness – but these are my top picks.

Nuts and Seeds

Crunchy and packed with healthy fats, nuts and seeds are a fantastic way to add texture and nutritional value to your oatmeal. Whether you opt for almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, or flaxseeds, these tiny powerhouses offer a dose of protein, healthy fats, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and more essential nutrients to kick-start your day.

Fresh Fruits

If I had to choose only one add-in for my oatmeal, it would definitely be fresh fruit. I love some sliced bananas, berries, and diced apples, which not only add natural sweetness but also an array of vitamins (like Vitamin C, B vitamins) and fiber. However, you can use any fruit you like!

Dried Fruits and Natural Sweeteners

If you’re craving an extra touch of sweetness and micronutrients (hello, calcium), dried fruits like raisins, cranberries, or apricots can do the trick. Additionally, consider using natural sweeteners such as maple syrup or honey for a more wholesome alternative to refined sugars.

Boost Protein and Texture in Oatmeal

There’s nothing like perfectly creamy oatmeal that’s loaded with repairing protein – and these add-ins are perfect for the task.

Yogurt and Dairy Add-ins

Looking to boost protein? Consider adding Greek yogurt or low-fat milk. These dairy options introduce creaminess and protein, keeping you satisfied and energized for your morning or day ahead.

However, if you are going to choose yogurt as your dairy add-in of choice, try to stick to plain Greek yogurts. They usually contain the most amount of protein and the least amount of sugar.

Protein Powders

For an extra protein kick, protein powders can be a convenient solution. Plant-based or whey, vanilla or chocolate – the choice is yours. Those who are on a fitness journey probably already know this, but protein powders effortlessly blend into oatmeal, enhancing its nutritional content while catering to your specific dietary requirements.

Flavor Enhancers for a Gourmet Oatmeal Experience

oatmeal bowl with pear slices, almonds and blueberries

While classic add-ins like fruit and nuts will always be a good idea, there are some flavor enhancers that really take oatmeal to the next level. Trust me, they’ll make you feel like you’re eating a gourmet breakfast with every spoonful.

Spices and Extracts

Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin spice (my favorite for making this high-protein oatmeal recipe) or vanilla extract can transform any plain oatmeal into a complex, deep and flavorful one. These aromatic additions not only enhance taste but also bring potential antioxidant and antiinflammatory health benefits.

Cocoa and Chocolate

While these add-ins might not be the healthiest choice, good news for the chocolate lovers: a little goes a long way. Instead of sweet cocoa and milk chocolate, opting for dark chocolate chips and natural cocoa powder can be a better choice. They bring both flavor and health benefits to the mix, such as anti-inflammatory effects and antithrombotic ones.

Nut Butters and Spreads

Peanut butter, almond butter, hazelnut spread and other nut butters and spreads make oatmeal taste like a rich and delicious dessert rather than a boring breakfast. The type of fat in addition to their fiber and protein content will not only benefit you nutritionally but also keep you fuller for longer.

Exotic and Unique Oatmeal Add-ins

This section is for those who are not afraid to try new things. There are some add-ins that I never thought I could add to a bowl of oatmeal, but once I did, I was hooked!

Superfoods and Grains

Explore the world of superfoods by adding ingredients like goji berries, acai, quinoa flakes, buckwheat groats, amaranth, and chia seeds. These nutrient-dense options can take your oatmeal to the next level of wellness. 

Goji berries boast antioxidants that support cellular health, acai brings a vibrant dose of vitamins and minerals, quinoa flakes offer complete protein, buckwheat groats provide fiber for sustained energy, amaranth delivers iron and magnesium, while chia seeds pack omega-3s and fiber, all enhancing the nutritional profile of your morning bowl.

I know I got a little too specific, but it’s just that the benefits of superfoods and grains never seem to end!

Savory Add-ins

I know this may sound weird, but who said oatmeal has to be sweet? Try adding sautéed veggies (carrots, zucchini), a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, bacon bits or a fried egg for a savory breakfast or luch that’s as hearty as it is delicious.

Tips for Perfectly Blending Your Add-ins

Creating a harmonious and satisfying bowl of oatmeal goes beyond tossing in ingredients. To achieve the perfect blend of flavors and textures, a bit of strategy can make all the difference.

Choosing the right oatmeal consistency

Whether you prefer creamy, thick, or somewhere in between, adjusting your oatmeal’s consistency is key to perfectly blending add-ins. One of the reasons I didn’t like oatmeal in the past was that I always found it too runny or too thick to mix add ins. Now I know that to achieve the best consistency I have to use a 1:2 ratio of oats to water (two cups of water for every cup of oats). That’s how you get creamy oatmeal!

Balancing flavors and textures

Mix and match add-ins that complement each other. If your oatmeal is already quite soft and creamy by itself, add a few nuts to balance the creaminess with some crunchiness. Or if the base of your oatmeal is sweet, why not add a touch of tartness with chopped green apples for an apple cinnamon delight? Find the balance that suits you!

Storage and reheating recommendations

If you’re prepping ahead, keep in mind that some add-ins may lose their freshness when stored together. Consider storing them separately and adding them just before eating. But besides that, here are some other tips for storing and reheating your oatmeal:

  • Airtight Containers: After cooking your oatmeal, let it cool slightly before transferring it to airtight containers. This prevents moisture from getting in and helps maintain its freshness.
  • Portion Control: Divide the oatmeal into individual portions before storing. This makes it easier to grab a serving quickly, especially during rushed mornings.
  • Refrigeration: Store the containers of oatmeal in the refrigerator. Oatmeal can be safely stored for up to 4-5 days, allowing you to prep ahead for several breakfasts.
  • Add Liquid: Before reheating, add a splash of milk, water, or your preferred liquid to the oatmeal. This helps restore moisture and prevents it from becoming too dry during reheating.
  • Microwave Method: Place a portion of oatmeal in a microwave-safe bowl. Reheat in short intervals, about 20-30 seconds at a time, stirring between intervals. This ensures even reheating without overcooking.
  • Stovetop Warm-up: For stovetop reheating, use a non-stick pan or pot. Add the oatmeal along with a bit of liquid to prevent sticking. Gently warm the oatmeal over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure even heating.
The options are limitless when it comes to what you can add to oatmeal

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, oatmeal doesn’t have to be plain and tasteless. In the world of oatmeal add-ins, the possibilities are truly endless! From wholesome grains to vibrant fruits, from protein-packed options to indulgent flavors, your oatmeal can be tailored to suit your unique taste and nutritional preferences. So, why settle for ordinary when you can start your day with a bowl of extraordinary?

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