oatmeal breakfast

Oatmeal is great. It provides a healthy dose of carbohydrates for energy, and unlike most carb-heavy meals, oats fill you up. Simply put, oatmeal is just about the perfect breakfast.

My “go to” oatmeal is cinnamon raisin, but there are many other ways to flavor your oatmeal. Just grab your favorite rolled or steel cut oats and some flavorings. Here are 17 different ways to spice up your bowl of oatmeal…

1. Honey

If you do need to add a sweetener to your oatmeal, try adding honey instead of plain white sugar. It’s healthier and more flavorful, but don’t go overboard – it’s still high in calories.

2. Flax seed

To add a nutty flavor and a light crunch to your oatmeal, sprinkle some ground flax seed (i.e. flax meal) on top. I usually do this after the oatmeal is cooked.

This also adds some important Omega-3 fatty acids to your cereal.

3. Chopped nuts

If you want a real nutty flavor and like big chunks, add some chopped nuts to your oatmeal. Walnuts are healthy and easy to chop, but you can also try almonds, pecans, and macadamia nuts.

4. Brown sugar and cinnamon

Brown sugar and cinnamon is a classic flavor combination, and it works great with oatmeal.

(Brown sugar isn’t exactly healthy, but you shouldn’t need to use very much.)

5. Cinnamon and raisin

As mentioned, the cinnamon raisin combination is my personal favorite oatmeal flavor. It’s very flavorful and it’s still sweet without any sugar, thanks to the raisins.

6. Maple syrup

Another unprocessed sweetener with a unique flavor is maple syrup. As with honey, go easy – maple syrup is still loaded with sugar.

7. Apple cinnamon

Peel an apple, slice it up into little chunks, and add it to your oatmeal. Sprinkle some cinnamon in there and you have a delicious flavor.

If you don’t like chunks, add applesauce instead. Or try some apple butter for a more robust flavor.

8. Berries

You can add all sorts of berries to your oatmeal. Fresh picked berries are the best, but frozen berries will work, too. Look for blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.

9. Tropical fruit

Add coconut flakes, pineapple chunks, and mango slices to your oatmeal for a tropical breakfast.

10. Banana

I love to slice up a banana and add it to my oatmeal. You can do plain banana, or add banana to your cinnamon raisin oatmeal, which is delicious!

Banana chips may work, but I’ve never tried, because they’re pretty hard.

11. Chocolate peanut butter

If you’re not one for fruit flavors, add some cocoa powder and natural peanut butter to your oats. This will give you a chocolate peanut butter flavor, and it should taste quite a bit like a “no bake” cookie.

12. Wheat germ

To add a little crunch to your oatmeal without overpowering the existing flavor, sprinkle some wheat germ on top.

13. Dates

Like raisins, dates are a sweet little fruit that go well in oatmeal. A popular mix is to combine raisins, dates, and walnuts.

14. Sea salt

If you like to mix things up and do some “sweet and salty” type flavors, you could add a little sea salt to your oatmeal. I recommend a brand like Real Salt which is unprocessed and contains trace minerals, plus a good flavor.

15. Peanut butter banana

While I’m more likely to make a peanut butter banana sandwich or smoothie, the combo works in oatmeal just as well.

16. Cranberries

Dried cranberries have a sweet and tart flavor. They are good alone, but I think they’re even better when combined with banana slices and raisins.

17. Vanilla

Vanilla is a great flavor, and you can easily add some vanilla extract to your oatmeal for a boost in sweetness and flavor.

Vanilla goes well with bananas, chopped walnuts, and other additives.

There you have it – 17 different options (even more if you combine some.) That should spice up your breakfast for a while!

(Yes, you can buy pre-mixed oatmeal packets that are already flavored, but those don’t amount to much more than large sugar packets.)

Photo credit: thebittenword.com

FREE 5-Day Nutrition Coaching Course

I highly recommend enrolling in this totally FREE 5-part video series from Dr. John Berardi, one of the sharpest minds in sports nutrition and fat loss. You'll discover how to create a nutrition plan and follow through on it!

pn certification video

Just click play!

You may also like
  1. Another awesome sweetener, Agave nectar! Also a good flavor, Almond extract. And for instant oatmeal I love Kashi’s Truly Vanilla. Lower in sugar than most brands but has a creamy texture and enough flavor to make it enjoyable.

  2. @hstryk

    Forgot about almond extract, that’s good stuff!

    I’m on the fence about agave nectar because, although it sounds natural, I have never seen it come from nature (as I have with honey and maple syrup.) Everything I have read makes it sound just as processed as HFCS:


  3. I have tried banana chips and they taste great in oatmeal. Usually, I put banana chips, vanilla soy milk, and cinnamon. Soaking the chips helps to make them softer. My favorite way to prepare oatmeal with minimal morning interruption, is to put everything in a jar and soak it overnight in the refrigerator then pop it in the microwave for 2min in the morning while I get ready for work. When I am ready to walk out the door, I screw the lid on tightly and throw it in my bag. I haven’t tried this with steel cut oats, only “old-fashioned”. I plan to try it this weekend (so as to not ruin my morning routine during the week in case things don’t work as planned).

  4. @Heather

    Thanks for the comment and sharing your tips! I’ll try your recipe sometime.

  5. Thanks for the inspiration Coach Levi. You got me back into oatmeal on a regular basis.

    Try putting a little cayenne powder into your oatmeal for a little boost. It may sound weird, but the sweet & spicy thing works.

  6. I am not a cyclist, but I am into fitness. I eat old-fashioned oats every morning with blueberries and natural peanut butter. It does my heart good to see you singing the praises of peanut butter in oatmeal, because people just curl their lips when I suggest it. I have also described it as tasting like a big mooshy cookie. I love oatmeal. I put no sweetener in it.

  7. @Bigbubba

    Yep, I guess you just gotta try the oatmeal peanut butter combo to see how good it is! I’ll have to try both the peanut butter and blueberries sometime.

  8. I kind of like a savory oatmeal with sauteed onions, salt and lots of pepper. It’s like a side dish for dinner @ breakfast!

  9. My fave way to eat oatmeal is with a hand full of chocolate chips and a dash of salt. If you like chocolate and want to stay away from the bad stuff its a good way to do it.

  10. @Norma

    Interesting! I will have to try that someday.


    I’m not a huge fan of chocolate (weird huh?) but I bet a lot of people would really enjoy that!

  11. Put GRAPE NUTS in your oatmeal FOR MAXIMUM EFFECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT TASTES GREAT AND GIVES IT AN UNBEATABLE CRUNCH!!!!!

  12. I enjoy a quarter to half a cup of Uncle Sam, which is toasted whole wheat berry flakes and flaxseed, followed by a dollop of Apple Butter for sweetness, on my oatmeal.

    Uncle Sam is found in most grocery stores hidden among the more expensive corn flakes.

  13. Being an athlete, oats is my favorite thing to have for breakfast. After many different combinations, I believe I have come up with the best oatmeal concoction for my taste buds and maybe yours !

    * 1/2 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats
    * 1/3 cup of Now Foods Unflavored Whey Protein Isolate
    * 1 TBS of Bob’s Red Mill Organic Ground Flaxseed Meal
    * 1/2 cup of Libby’s Pure Pumpkin
    * 1/4 of Granny Smith Apple (chopped into cubes)
    * 1/4 of Anjou Pear (chopped into cubes)
    * 10 almonds
    * 1/2 tsp of McCormick’s Vanilla Extract
    * 1/2 tsp of cinnamon

    Total: 582 calories/15.4 grams of fat/79.5 grams of carbs/43.7 grams of protein
    It’s absolute delicious plus 19 grams of fiber !


  15. @Corris

    Thanks for the constructive criticism. Sorry you were forced to stick around and comment about hating it, wasting a large portion of your day I’m sure!

  16. I love steel cut oats, can’t beat the texture and hate the mush of rolled oats.

    My preferred way to eat them (a batch for the week)
    2 cups cooked oats
    2 cups cottage cheese (2%)
    1 cup plain yogurt
    5 tbs toasted flax seeds
    (I used to add 2.5 tbs of Splenda but gradually phased it out)
    Mix well, portion out 1 cup each morning and add 60g blue or black berries.

  17. I loved the ideas.

  18. These are great ideas. I can’t wait to try them.

Leave a Reply