How To Make Good Oatmeal

I don’t know about you, but when I first started doing Bright Line Eating I hated oatmeal. Seriously, it made me gag. Now it’s my favorite meal of the day.

These days I eat oatmeal (almost) every single day, because it’s so easy, delicious, and automatic. At this point it’s built solidly into my daily habits, so that my perfectly portioned and healthy breakfast requires literally no thinking, ever.

Mixing up my oats every night for the next morning is as automatic now as brushing my teeth before bed. Once in a while, like on a weekend if I’m feeling fancy, I cook my oats, or have steel cut oats.

For me, the thing that made oatmeal go from glue-y and gag-inducing to a flavorful, creamy, delicious morning treat was the addition of milk or yogurt. I split my protein three ways between milk/yogurt, nuts, and seeds. I mix up a big container of chia, flax, and hemp seeds and add that in while it’s cooking. They pack a big nutritional punch!

There are multiple methods that I use to prepare my oatmeal, depending on my mood, laziness level, etc. Here is a handy overview.

Basic Cooked Oatmeal

  • 1 oz dry rolled or steel cut oats
  • 1/2 oz hemp/flax/chia seeds
  • 4 oz milk of choice (I use soy milk)

Add these ingredients to a small pot and cook over low heat for the length of time on the package instructions. Stir often. Remove from heat when it’s a little more watery than you would like – it will continue to hydrate and firm up in the bowl. Top with 6 oz of fruit, 1/2 oz of nuts or nut butter, and spices.

Overnight Oats w/ Milk

  • 1 oz dry rolled oats
  • 1/2 oz hemp/flax/chia seeds
  • 4 oz soy milk (or other plant-based milk)

Before bed, stir these ingredients together in a container and put it in the fridge overnight. That’s all! In the morning your oats will be ready to eat, no cooking required. I eat them cold, but you could microwave them if you wanted. Top with 6 oz of fruit, 1/2 oz of nuts or nut butter, and spices.

Overnight Oats w/ Yogurt

  • 1 oz dry rolled oats
  • 1/2 oz hemp/flax/chia seeds
  • 4 oz vegan yogurt

Before bed, stir these ingredients together in a container and put it in the fridge overnight. When using yogurt, you’ll need to add a splash of water so that they don’t turn into cement overnight. Experiment to find a consistency you like. Top with 6 oz of fruit, 1/2 oz of nuts or nut butter, and spices.

Steel Cut Oats

Many people who don’t like the texture of regular oatmeal enjoy steel cut oats. They have much more structure, chew, and texture than rolled oats. They take longer to cook than rolled oats but you can also buy quick-cooking steel cut oats that take less time. My favorite method is the pot-in-pot instant pot method for cooking steel cut oats. No mess, quick, perfect every time, and totally hands off! They also reheat well when loosened up with a little bit of water or milk, so they are great for batch cooking ahead for the week. Steel cut oats don’t work well for overnight oats, because they don’t hydrate without prolonged cooking.

Video: How to Make Overnight Oats

A Few of My Favorite Topping Combinations

Here are a few of my favorite combos for a decadent oatmeal experience.


Pears & Hazelnuts

IMG_7600
Photo Source: Katie’s Bright Kitchen
  • Grain: 1 oz dry oats or 4 oz cooked oats
  • Protein: 4 oz yogurt or milk (1/2 protein serving)
  • Protein: 1 oz hazelnuts (1/2 protein serving)
  • Fruit: 6 oz pear
  • Spices: 1/8 tsp ground ginger, cinnamon, cardamom

Apples & Nut Butter

apple-pb-oats-1-1024x862
Photo Source: Foodie Loves Fitness
  • Grain: 1 oz dry oats or 4 oz cooked oats
  • Protein: 2 oz peanut butter or almond butter (1 protein serving)
  • Fruit: 6 oz diced apple, cooked into the oatmeal to warm and soften a little
  • Spices: 1/8 tsp ground ginger, cinnamon, cardamom

Variations: add nut butter to the oatmeal while cooking, add it as-is at the end, or thin it with water to make a pourable sauce.


Bananas & Pecans

Banana-Pecan-Oatmeal
Photo Source: Two Thirds Cup
  • Grain: 1 oz dry oats or 4 oz cooked oats
  • Protein: 4 oz yogurt or milk (1/2 protein serving)
  • Protein: 1 oz chopped dry toasted pecans (1/2 protein serving)
  • Fruit: 6 oz banana
  • Spices: 1/8 tsp cinnamon

Peaches & Cream

Maple-Walnut-Steel-Cut-Oatmeal-with-Yogurt-Peaches-and-Chia-Seeds
Photo Source: Roasted Root
  • Grain: 1 oz dry oats or 4 oz cooked oats
  • Protein: 4 oz yogurt or milk (1/2 protein serving)
  • Protein: 1 oz pecans or sliced almonds (1/2 protein serving)
  • Fruit: 6 oz diced peaches or nectarines
  • Spices: 1/8 tsp cinnamon, ginger, cardamom

Fig & Ricotta Oatmeal

Photo Source: Katie’s Bright Kitchen

Full recipe here


Savory Steel Cut Oats

Photo Source: Katie’s Bright Kitchen

Full recipe here


Katie’s Overnight Breakfast Porridge 

IMG_9736.JPG
Photo Source: Katie’s Bright Kitchen
  • Grain: 1 oz dry rolled oats (steel cut doesn’t work here)
  • Protein: 4 oz yogurt or milk (1/2 protein serving)
  • Protein: 0.5 oz flax, hemp, or chia seeds (I use a mix of all three!) (1/4 protein serving)
  • Protein: 0.5 oz nuts for topping
  • Fruit: 6 oz fruit for topping
  • Spices: 1/8 tsp cinnamon

Stir together oats, yogurt, a little water (so it doesn’t turn in to cement), seeds, and cinnamon. Refrigerate overnight. You can find the full recipe here.


Strawberries & Almonds

strawberry-almond-oats
Photo Source: Inspired Edibles
  • Grain: 1 oz dry oats or 4 oz cooked oats
  • Protein: 4 oz yogurt or milk (1/2 protein serving)
  • Protein: 1 oz almonds or pistachios (1/2 protein serving)
  • Fruit: 6 oz strawberries (or a combination of strawberries & bananas)
  • Spices: Vanilla

Pumpkin Spiced Oatmeal

imagesPumpkinPorridge5378pumpkinoatmeal
Image Source: Super Healthy Kids
  • Grain: 1 oz dry oats or 4 oz cooked oats
  • Protein: 4 oz yogurt or milk (1/2 protein serving)
  • Protein: 1 oz pecans, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds (1/2 protein serving)
  • Veggie (replaces fruit): 6 oz unsweetened pumpkin purée, or a combination of pumpkin purée and diced apples to reach 6 oz.
  • Spices: 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice)

Plums & Pistachios

roasted-plums-02741
Photo Source: Fancy Food Fancy
  • Grain: 1 oz dry oats or 4 oz cooked oats
  • Protein: 4 oz yogurt or milk (1/2 protein serving)
  • Protein: 1 oz pistachios or other nuts (1/2 protein serving)
  • Fruit: 6 oz plums, or combination of plums, apples, or bananas,
  • Spices: Cinnamon, anise, allspice

Berry Medley

Triple-Berry-Oatmeal-Breakfast-Bowl-4
Photo Source: Lovely Little Kitchen
  • Grain: 1 oz dry oats or 4 oz cooked oats
  • Protein: 4 oz yogurt or milk (1/2 protein serving)
  • Protein: 1 oz nuts of choice (1/2 protein serving)
  • Fruit: 6 oz berries

Bananas & Pomegranate

banana-pomegranate-oatmeal-25282-2529
Photo Source: The Oatmeal Artist
  • Grain: 1 oz dry oats or 4 oz cooked oats
  • Protein: 4 oz yogurt (1/2 protein serving)
  • Protein: 1 oz almonds, pecans, walnuts (1/2 protein serving)
  • Fruit: 6 oz bananas and pomegranate seeds
  • Spices: Vanilla, cinnamon

Video: How to Make Your Own Unsweetened Yogurt

See this accompanying post and recipe on how to make your own yogurt.

Tips for Batch Prepping

I weigh out all the dry ingredients into individual containers in batches, a week’s worth at a time, and store them in the cupboard. The night before all I have to do is throw one on the scale and add the milk or yogurt. Easy!! 

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What are your favorite ways to prepare your breakfast grains? Comment below to share your oatmeal creations and ideas!

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28 Comments

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  8. Wow. Amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this Katie! I am definitely going to try the overnight oats. It looks so delicious! I have written that oatmeal can also help lose weight: https://www.panaprium.com/oatmeal-weight-loss/ Do you agree?

    • I don’t know about that, I know that I lost 70 lb and ate oatmeal almost every day, but I credit the BLE system and food plan for that, not just the oatmeal.

  9. Hi Kate, so glad I found your blog – I have just finished my first week of the 14 day challenge, and then heading to boot camp. I’m looking for clarification….I have been measuring my milk in fluid ounces, but it looks like you measure by weight? Is it the same, or should I switch and measure EVERYTHING by weight??

  10. Karen Miller

    There is a difference between weight and volume for measuring. Ounces for fluids means volume, not weight. So, I measure my milk with measuring cup, in ounces. It doesn’t necessarily weigh 4 ounces on a scale however.

  11. Hi! I’m brand new at BLE, so forgive my confused state! I don’t see Seeds and Nuts (ie, Fat) as part of Breakfast . Or is there info in the Notes??

  12. Love, love, love you Katie. Thank you for taking all the headache out of cooking for me. I appreciate you sharing your story, your recipes and being kind and generous. Such a relief. Feeling hopeful. much love to you – Vicki Heal

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  15. Do you grind your seeds?

  16. LOL! I get my nuts at Trader Joe’s too. Best prices! And I like overnight BUCKWHEAT groats even better than oatmeal. Dreamy texture, ‘al dente’. 🙂

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  18. Thanks so much for this info. So helpful!!! I hope to be an oatmeal convert, like you 🙂
    Question: can I use steel cut oats in the overnight oats with milk ? You have rolled oats listed. Just wondering if steel cut don’t work well ?
    Thanks !!!

    • Steel cut oats don’t work for overnight oats. They will not hydrate fully. I’d recommend rolled oats. My favorite way to prepare steel cut oats (quickly) is in the Instant Pot.

  19. Rachael Weber

    I am new to oatmeal. I didn’t like it when I was a kid so I never tried to eat it again but I like oatmeal cookies and I like oats in things. I tried overnight oats for the first time this morning. (The flavor was ok….I didn’t put enough stuff in it for flavor. I made it on a whim because I am trying to find new healthy breakfasts that don’t involve eggs.) My problem is that half way through eating them, they became excessively thick. Think cement. I couldn’t eat anymore. The consistency was too offputting. What did I do wrong?

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