If girlfriend were increased on single-serving packets of prompt oatmeal favor I to be (don"t ever ask me to pick in between the Maple and Brown Sugar and also the Strawberries and Cream flavors), the morning meal will certainly forever host a special location in her heart.

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I mean, oatmeal is basically the food indistinguishable of your fave fluffy blanket. It"s reliable, renders you feel safe, and also is just super cozy.

Here"s the genuine question, though: Is the breakfast staple as an excellent for you together it feels? as a kid, ns didn"t think much about oatmeal"s calories, included sugar, and health benefits—but as an adult, well, I"m curious.

Turns out, the morning sheep of goodness is popular for an excellent reason. Oats themselves space actually quite darn good for you, according to nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, author of The Flexitarian Diet. And, as lengthy as you optimal them with the right foodstuffs (think seed butter or fresh fruit), you"ve obtained yourself a nutritional powerhouse of a meal. Seriously, oats v peanut butter and also dark cacao chips put that super-sweet prompt stuff to shame, IMO.

Of course, if you desire to make her oatmeal together good-for-you as possible, there are a couple of common mistakes you"ll want to prevent (like forgetting around protein). Don"t worry, though, this guide will help you obtain the most out that your next warm-and-fuzzy breakfast.

The wellness Benefits the Oatmeal

Just to make certain we"re clear on the truth that oats themselves are 100 percent healthy, recognize this: Oats room a whole grain, which means they contain pour it until it is full fiber—four grams per half a cup, to be exact, says Blatner. “It’s not a ton of fiber, yet it’s in reality a powerful type that helps regulate your cholesterol,” she says.

That fiber also way your morning bowl of oatmeal keeps friend feeling complete for hours. "The other good thing about oatmeal is that it’s a wet grain, an interpretation it’s cooked v water," Blatner says. "A hearty wet grain is going come be much more filling than any kind of sort of dry grain favor a cold cereal, and research has proven that.” So, the invite to swap your grain for a warm, oaty alternative? Received.

Here"s how oatmeal"s nutrition breaks down (per one cup, cooked):

Calories: 158Protein: 4 gFat: 3.2 gSaturated fat: 0.5 gCarbohydrates: 7 gFiber: 4 gSugar: 1.1 gSodium: 115 mg

Clearly, oatmeal is a solid morning choice. Because that fairly couple of calories, you score a balance that protein, fat, and also fiber.

Top mistakes That room Sabotaging your Oatmeal

Despite oats" bennies, there are a couple of sneaky means you may be sapping the healthy and balanced powers from her morning bowl...

1. Your servings room too big.

First things first: “Because oatmeal a healthy food, civilization sometimes eat too much of it," states Blatner. "Instead of having actually one cup cooked, they’ll dual it and also start off with one cup dry.”

Her advice? Stick to half-a-cup of dried oatmeal, which is considered one serving size. That comes out to 150 calories, leaving around another 150 for toppings, so girlfriend can create a filling breakfast that doesn’t turn right into a calorie bomb that leaves you too full.

2. You add too lot sugar.

There are ~so~ countless ways come sweeten increase a bowl of oatmeal, native brown sugar to coco chips. However by upping the sweetness, you might be slashing the wellness benefits. Yes, brown sugar tastes great, but it"s straightforward to overdo it. Instead of relying top top straight-up sweeteners, go for cinnamon, unsweetened cocoa powder, or vanilla extract. “They taste sweet without actually being sugary,” Blatner says.

3. You"re including artificial sweeteners.

While steering clear of excess sugar is a smart choice, opting for synthetic sweeteners is not, claims Eliza Savage, RD, nutritionist at Middleburg Nutrition in new York City. "Artificial sweeteners not only cause more carbohydrate and also sugar cravings, however they additionally deplete healthy gut bacteria," she says.

Instead, Savage proposal sweetening her bowl with fresh fruit or a small amount of herbal sugar from maple syrup, dates, or honey. Alternatively, shot a much more savory oatmeal and also up the fiber v veggies prefer carrots or zucchini.

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4. You optimal it with a ton that dried fruit.

Dried fruit is fruit, therefore how negative can it really be, right? Well, due to the fact that all the water has been removed from dried fruit, that is sugar contents is much much more concentrated than the new stuff, Blatner says. Plus, some ranges are actually coated in sugar.

Blatner"s advice: go for fresh or frozen fruit. The extra water content will assist you feel an ext satiated, too.

5. You order it to-go.

There’s been an flow of fast-food places including oatmeal to their menus because it’s easy to make and also gives them healthy cred...but that rep might not be completely deserved. When some health food shops will certainly slip in healthy ingredients choose protein powder, others jack increase the calories and also sweetness through unnecessary add-ins (think sugar and also heavy cream). “Check out the ingredient of the oatmeal in ~ a certain place before you decide to get it,” says Blatner.

Fast food chains room jumping top top the vegan bandwagon, too. Inspect out Jenna Dewan taste-test vegetable eats:

6. Friend buy flavored immediate oatmeal.

Speaking of rapid oatmeal, the convenience that those small flavor package comes v a price: Le sigh, most immediate oatmeals space loaded through sugar. “People normally aren’t to buy packets of level oatmeal," says Blatner. "They’re to buy the highly-sugared kind." If you’re tho all around the instant, though, just look because that the plain variety.

7. You forget about rolled or steel-cut.

Sure, instant oats room convenient, but rolled or steel-cut room the the very least processed, states Savage. "So if you have the time and are maybe to get them, they room the finest choice."

For a small context: Oats come the end of the ground together oat groats, i beg your pardon is their largest, most herbal form. Then they gained chopped through steel blades and also become steel-cut. ~ that, they’re steamed and rolled to do rolled oats.

Another perk: because steel-cut and rolled oats absorb much more water than instant oats, her bowl will certainly be even more filling.

8. Friend don’t add enough protein.

Another common but unexpected oatmeal prob? Sometimes world don’t beef up their bowl sufficient for are afraid that they’ll make it unhealthy. “Don’t just sit under to a bowl of oats with two raspberries top top top,” says Blatner. "You won’t feeling satisfied and may be an ext susceptible come overeat later." Instead, think of the bowl together a chance to acquire a well-rounded start to your day.

"So many civilization skimp ~ above protein as soon as eating oatmeal and wonder why they space hungry much less than an hour later," states nutritionist Keri Gans, RD. "Even despite fiber uncovered in oatmeal helps to keep you full, friend really require that included protein for satiety." In addition to a cup of new fruit, she advises topping your oatmeal through protein in the form of nuts or nut butter. You could additionally mix-in milk, yogurt, or protein powder.

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9. You skimp on healthy and balanced fats.

Savage also stresses the prominence of adding healthy fats—since oats don"t sell a ton. In addition to nuts and nut butter (which contain a hefty lot of healthy fat), she proposal chia, flax, or seeds.

10. You make your oatmeal too plain.

One the the beautiful perks of oatmeal is there space SO countless delicious means to prepare it. In addition to the wide array of topping combine you can pick from (fresh fruit! peanut butter! hemp seeds!), you can also try making overnight oats because that a quick, ready-to-go breakfast.

Or, shot Blatner’s recipe: “In the fall, ns love come chop increase a green apple with walnuts and pecans in a key of oatmeal," she says. "Then I add some cinnamon. It end up being a huge, pour it until it is full breakfast." Yum, right?