Cooking oatmeal is simple: Cook oats in water at a ratio of 1:2 (1/2 cup of oats to 1 cup of water). Put everything in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and cook for up to 5 minutes, or until the consistency suits you (less time for “soupier” oatmeal, more time for firmer). Add a tiny pinch of salt to enhance oatmeal’s flavor (unless you’re on a low-sodium diet).
Steel-cut oats take longer to cook, but they have a wonderful nutty flavor and toothy texture that makes for a hearty breakfast. As a time-saver, you can prepare a big batch on the weekend and refrigerate the oatmeal to use during the week or cook them in a microwave. For more instructions on cooking steel-cut oats, click here.
No time to cook in the morning? Oatmeal is the perfect slow cooker food. Simply dump all the ingredients in the pot before bedtime, and you’ll wake to a hearty breakfast. Here’s a link to a few great recipes.
Europeans have made oats a centerpiece of their morning meal for generations, notably in the mix called muesli. The idea is simple: stir together raw oats and milk, add a bit of sugar, cinnamon and dried fruit, let sit overnight in the refrigerator, and you have a hearty, delicious (and no-cook!) breakfast. Follow this basic recipe; feel free to add fresh fruit in the morning.
Creative Oatmeal Combinations
Though oatmeal is warm and comforting, all by itself it can be a bit dull. The good news oatmeal can really be jazzed up — try one of the combinations below:
One serving of cooked oatmeal (about 1 cup cooked) contains 150 calories, 3 grams of fat, 27 grams of carbs, around 6 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber. The calorie figures listed below are for the additional items.
- 2 Tbsp. dried cranberries, 1 Tbsp. toasted pistachios, 1 tsp. sugar (115 calories)
- 2 Tbsp. raisins, 1 Tbsp. chopped pecans, 1 tsp. sugar (125 calories)
- 2 Tbsp. dried cherries, 1 Tbsp. chopped almonds, 1 tsp. sugar (115 calories)
- 1/4 cup blueberries, 1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts, dash of cinnamon (70 calories)
- 1/2 cup diced apple, 2 Tbsp. dried cranberries (90 calories)
- 1/2 cup diced pears and 2 Tbsp. dried cherries (100 calories)
- 1 cup diced apple, 2 Tbsp. raisins, sprinkle of cinnamon (140 calories)
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, 1 Tbsp. maple syrup,1 Tbsp. chopped toasted walnuts (140 calories)
- 1/2 cup diced apple, 1 Tbsp. raisins, 1 Tbsp. peanut butter (165 calories)
- 1 Tbsp. honey, 2 Tbsp. raisins, 1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts (175 calories)
- 1 Tbsp. honey, 1 Tbsp. peanut butter (160 calories)
- 1/2 sliced banana, 1 Tbsp. peanut butter (145 calories)
- 1/2 cup sliced peaches, 1.5 tsp. brown sugar, 1 Tbsp. sliced almonds, dash of vanilla extract (120 calories)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce, dash of cinnamon (35 Calories)
- 1/2 cup sliced fresh or frozen strawberries, 1 Tbsp. sliced almonds, dash of almond extract (75 calories)
- 3 Tbsp. of your favorite fruit spread or preserves (80 Calories)
- 1 Tbsp. chopped dried banana chips, 1 Tbsp. dry-roasted peanuts, 1 Tbsp. raisins (120 calories)
- 1 Tbsp. dried cranberries, 1 Tbsp. raisins, 1 Tbsp. chopped pecans (130 calories)
- Italian oatmeal: 1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup diced tomatoes (125 calories)