How to Make Oatmeal Less Blah and More Yeah!

I used to hate oatmeal when I was a kid. It was bland and dry and no amount of honey could make it moist enough to get down my throat. My mom always touted its health benefits but I was a kid so all that mattered to me was whether it tasted good or not, and it never tasted good.

Oatmeal is just not a breakfast food that screams “I’m delicious!” Eggs and bacon? yes! Doughnuts? yes! Pancakes? Heck yeah! Oatmeal? Um, no thanks. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, with a few unique ingredients this once bland food can be downright tasty, and may even be able to compete with that Trifecta at First Watch. Ok, maybe not the Trifecta but it’s at least a yummy weekday breakfast and it is one of the few breakfast foods that will keep me full for hours, and get me through a hard workout.

Now that I’ve built it up, here are a few of my favorite oatmeal variations:

I was re-introduced to oatmeal after joining Stroller Strength, when former instructor Joan Dandeneau got me back into eating oatmeal with this little combo:


  • ½ cup whole rolled oats
  • splash of almond milk or soy milk

{side note: instant oatmeal is NOT the same as whole rolled oats! you will lose all the health benefits if you choose instant oats that have already been broken down for you! Your body wants the whole oat for digestion and to keep you fuller, longer}


Combine ingredients in a bowl and microwave for about a minute and a half. Add toppings like flax meal, wheat germ, banana, sliced almonds, etc for added flavor and health benefits.

Then when I started reading about the benefits of steel cut oats I stumbled upon this recipe:


  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 4 cups of liquid. I use three cups of water and one cup of almond milk but feel free to use whatever floats your tastebuds
  • 1.5 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • 1 apple peeled and chopped
  • ¼ cup of raisins (optional)


Throw all ingredients into a crockpot and cook on low for 7 hours.

Sugar-Free Overnight Crock Pot Oatmeal by
Sugar-Free Overnight Crock Pot Oatmeal by

I LOVE this recipe. It’s super easy to throw together and it makes the house smell like Christmas morning. Bonus – Isla loves it too and it usually lasts us four or five days, making it the perfect quick and easy breakfast on busy mornings. I usually scoop out ½ cup and top with sliced almonds, half a banana, flax meal and blueberries or raspberries when in season.

Those are just two of the oatmeal dishes I have made and enjoy. There are tons of different ways you can cook this versatile breakfast food and tons of different add-ins to make it wow your tastebuds i.e. yogurt, cherries, peanut butter, vanilla extract, sunflower seeds, coconut milk, protein powder etc.

An Internet search for “overnight oatmeal,” “slow cooker oatmeal” and “apple oatmeal” will pull up hundreds of different recipes that will turn you into an oatmeal believer. But be careful, not every oatmeal recipe is created equal. Oatmeal is a HEALTH food. It helps lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol; the soluble fiber in it absorbs a great amount of water, which slows down your digestive process leaving you fuller longer and it may help reduce blood pressure. By adding unhealthy ingredients like loads of sugar you are diminishing it’s excellent health benefits.

If you are on a gluten free diet or Paleo diet and miss your old oatmeal recipes I recently discovered this gem from Leafy Green Paleo:


  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup almonds slivered or blanched are best
  • 1/2 banana sliced
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk unsweetened; can add extra when served
  • 1 egg raw; optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt optional; to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup optional; to taste


  1. Add the walnuts, pecans, and almonds to a food processor, and pulse until evenly chopped. Processing these before adding the other ingredients ensures even chopping.
  2. Add the banana, egg, coconut milk, cinnamon, and salt to the mixture. Pulse until evenly blended.
  3. To serve hot, microwave for about 30-45 seconds, then stir.
  4. Add coconut milk to taste, and maple syrup on top, and serve immediately.

What are your favorite oatmeal recipes?

Jena Pugh is a stay-at-home working mom, a wife to her adoring husband Paul, and mama to two spunky girls. She currently writes daily blogs for Entertainment Benefits Group, a travel company that sells discounted tickets to Orlando theme parks (, and Las Vegas ( shows and attractions. Her blogs include happenings in both Vegas and Orlando as well as celebrity sightings in Sin City. Jena also teaches group fitness classes with Jacksonville Stroller Strength and is certified as a nutrition coach.


  1. I really love this Jena! I too hated oatmeal until I started Stroller Strength. I add agave, cinnamon and blueberries or walnuts to mine. In the fall I always have canned pumpkin and add that in too 🙂

  2. Hey.
    I just wanted to say that while eating oatmeal without sugar is obviously ideal, I think eating it with sugar is better than not eating it at all. And the thing at I’ve noticed is that the longer I eat it, the less sugar I need. So I wouldn’t feel too bad if you have to pile on the sugar at first because that will change within a few weeks.


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