Fabulous oatmeal add-ins.

I call it the 10 AM Growlies—that rumble you get in your belly midmorning when breakfast has worn off. The best prevention I’ve found for the 10 AM Growlies is a bowl of oatmeal—it keeps me full through the morning and prevents that carb crash I get from many commercial cereals.

Recently, I penned (OK, typed) an article for SparkPeople.com: No More Boring Oatmeal! I was pleased to see that my piece synced up nicely with Mark Bittman’s column in the New York Times Op-Ed pages, How to Make Oatmeal … Wrong. Bittman argues that do-it-yourself oatmeal is a much healthier option than most packaged versions (and far better than, heaven forbid, McDonald’s “healthy” oatmeal). Plus, it takes about as much time to bring a saucepan of water, oats and salt to the boil as it does to microwave a package of sugary instant oatmeal, and much less time than waiting in the Mickey-D’s drivethru.

I researched a bunch of healthy and tasty combinations that add a flavor punch onto the blank canvas that is a bowl of oatmeal. Read the full SparkPeople article on 20 healthy and tasty breakfast ideas; here are a few of my favorites from the list I compiled:

  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries, 1 Tbsp toasted pistachios, 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp raisins, 1 Tbsp chopped pecans, 1 tsp turbinado sugar
  • 2 Tbsp dried cherries, 1 Tbsp chopped almonds, 1 tsp turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup blueberries, 1 Tbsp chopped walnuts, dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup diced apple, 2 Tbsp dried cranberries (90 calories)

And my two favorite oatmeal toppings:

  • 1 Tbsp Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread), 1/2 a banana, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp shredded cheddar, a bit of sliced scallion, salt and a generous grind of pepper, topped with an egg lightly cooked in a nonstick skillet

Happy breakfast!

4 thoughts on “Fabulous oatmeal add-ins.

  1. Bryn,

    I have been an oatmeal lover since before I was born. Not many share my passion/obsession for this romantic mush and am comforted to know that I’m not the only one who has fond affections for this stately grain.

    I used to cook my old fashion oatmeal using the method you wrote about in your SparkPeople article. My new method came about years ago. The story goes that one fine morning, right after I just finished tossing the oats into the boiling water, I unexpectedly needed to take the pot off the burner. The diversion might have been that someone came to the door to peddle something useless that I needed, or one of the kids got their hand/foot/head stuck in something, or it was suddenly time to clean the bathroom floor because the overflowed bathwater thought it needed mopping, but whatever the reason, when I came back to the pot I found my oats were cooked to perfection.

    Ever since that remarkable occurrence, I’ve cooked my oatmeal that very same way. I don’t have to watch the pot. Just boil water, dump oats in, cover with lid and move the pot off the heat. I can then concentrate on other important things like which outfits would go with my bra, posing in front of the house with 360 paint swatches, or searching online the vast varieties of dark chocolate and how to scheme ways to get some. After my morning extracurricular activities, I’m ready to eat breakfast and like magic, I’m rewarded with the perfect pot of oatmeal.

    A few weeks ago I bought and cooked some steel-cut oats for the first time. While cooking, I realized my patience was being tested more than any child of mine ever did and in the end I had something that tasted like and resembled clammy birdseed. I was disheartened to say the least and let down that my love for rolled oats had gone awry with its brethren the steel-cut. We have not looked at each other since.

    However, after reading your enlightened article on SpeakPeople, I am reinvigorated with hope and grandeur and I’m willing to give steel-cut another chance. This time I’ll soak it to death overnight.

    I enjoyed reading your post and your very detailed article on SpeakPeople and I’m looking forward to trying out some of your breakfast ideas that I’ve written down.


    • Danita — I love your description of the steel-cut oatmeal: “clammy birdseed.” I’m going to try your “leave it be” method — set the oatmeal aside to cook while I feed the dog, fetch the paper (wait, shouldn’t the dog do that?), make coffee, etc. Thanks for the comment!

  2. My wife makes steel cut oatmeal, it’s wonderful, has a nutty flavor, and is not at all resemble “clammy birdseed”, I hate seeing it described as such as it is so enjoyable