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The Warming Comfort of a Bowl of Oatmeal

Improve the nutrition and flavor of your morning bowl of oats.

Comforting bowl of oatmeal

Oatmeal is one of those “super foods” that is “super” both in flavor and in natural healthfulness. Containing heart-protecting antioxidants, digestion-stimulating insoluble fiber and blood sugar- and cholesterol-regulating soluble fiber, whole oats are a powerhouse of nutrition and health support. 

There’s more good news. Oats are easy to make, from an overnight pot of steel-cut oats in a slow-cooker, to a 10-minute bowl of quick-cooking oats on the stovetop. Flavored packets of oatmeal are readily available and delicious, but the satisfaction and ease of making your own whole oats is time well spent.

Try these four ideas for elevating your morning oatmeal to new heights of comfort and flavor. Because the best news of all is that oatmeal is as delicious as it is healthy. 

1. Try Natural Sweeteners
I always thought there was nothing like a generous spoonful of brown sugar, stirred meltingly into a piping hot bowl of oatmeal, to bring a sweet zing to the morning. But I’ve experimented with natural sweeteners enough to know by now that they can also do the trick. Honey, maple syrup, agave nectar and date syrup are just a few of your sweet choices.

2. Get Fruity—Fresh, Dried or Frozen
Oatmeal is especially comforting during the cold winter months, both for its smooth, warm texture and also for its status as a canvas waiting to be painted with any fruit you can imagine. Dried fruits—cranberries, cherries, blueberries, bananas or raisins, for starters—plump up nicely when stirred into the almost-done pot of oats. Fresh fruits like pears, blueberries and raspberries can be cooked down to a pleasing, flavor-intense bite. And frozen fruits, from peaches to mangoes to strawberries, bring a reminder to your winter morning that summer isn’t far behind.

3. Make it Creamy
Adding something creamy to oatmeal makes your morning bowl even more comforting and nourishing. A splash of milk—dairy, soy or nut works well—or a decadent drizzle of cream will do the trick. Adding a dollop of yogurt to your almost-cooked pot of oatmeal is another way to boost both the flavor and nutritional profile of the dish.

4. Add Some Crunch
Contrasting textures make comfort foods all the more satisfying to eat. A handful of chopped nuts in your bowl of oatmeal will add protein, omega-3 oils and other nutrients to your breakfast, along with a pleasing crunch to sink your teeth into. Other options are toasted coconut, crisp raw fruits like apples or toasty granola.

Any more ideas for dressing up your morning oats?

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