6 Fun Oatmeal Change-Ups {by Carole Sparks • Guest Post}

As the weather cools, our breakfast plans turn to oatmeal and other warm, comforting foods to start the day. If you think homemade oatmeal is bland or if you’re concerned about the sugar and additives in those little packets of instant oats, try one of these fun change-ups. In less than ten minutes, you’ll feel like you’re eating dessert for breakfast. And the best part is, you’ll be full until lunch time!

Start with a standard ½-cup serving of uncooked quick oats, add 1/2 tablespoon  ground flaxseed, and cook according to package directions. Unless otherwise noted, add the fun stuff after the oats have set for their given time (usually three minutes—just enough time to chop everything).

1 • Pumpkin Pie

  • 1½ tablespoon canned pumpkin puree (the one that’s just mashed=up pumpkin, not pie filling)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pecans
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice blend
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon maple syrup or ½ banana. Surprisingly, the banana will make it sweeter than the maple syrup

Add milk to your preferred consistency.

2 • Carrot Cake

  • 2 tablespoon matchstick carrots (Chop slightly and add to the water with the dry oats)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 chopped pitted date or 1 tablespoon raisins (The date will be sweeter—and stickier)
  • dash of ginger
  • dash of cinnamon

For added bulk, throw in ½ an apple (diced or shredded) and/or 1 tablespoon shredded coconut.

Use unsweetened coconut milk for this one, if you have it.

3 • Cranberry-Apple Pie

  • ½ unpeeled apple, diced (If you prefer these softened, throw the pieces in the boiling water when you add the dry oatmeal)
  • 1 tablespoon low-sugar cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon walnuts
  • dash of ground ginger or small piece of candied ginger, chopped
  • heavy dash of cinnamon

Add milk, as usual.

4 • Almond-Pear Pastry

  • ½ unpeeled pear, diced
  • 1 tablespoon slivered or sliced almonds
  • heavy dash of cinnamon
  • dash of all-spice

Add 1 tablespoon almond butter for more protein.

Use unsweetened almond milk, if you have it, or add scant ½ t. almond flavoring.

5 • Peanut Butter-Banana Bread

  • ½ banana, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
  • dash of cinnamon

If you like it sweeter, add 1 teaspoon honey.

If you like it crunchy, add 1 tablespoon chopped peanuts, especially if your peanut butter is smooth.

For a special treat, add 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips after your oatmeal has cooled just a bit.

Use whatever type of milk is in the fridge.

6 • Tropical Temptation

  • 2 dried apricots, diced or 1 dried apricot and 1 small piece of dried pineapple. (Dried pineapple typically has lots of sugar.)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cashews
  • 1 tablespoon shredded coconut
  • dash of cinnamon

Use unsweetened coconut milk, if you have it.

  • If you have food allergies or dietary restrictions, be sure to carefully read the labels for all ingredients, including condiments and spices. For example, some brands of ingredients (especially sauces, salsas, etc.) may contain gluten and/or soy and/or fish/shellfish and/or carrogeenan (a seaweed-derived food additive difficult for some people to tolerate).


Carole Sparks thought she could cook before she moved overseas, where the only thing that came in a can was corn. She had to learn how to be creative…and how to scrape the bottom of a peanut butter jar better than anyone you know! Now back in the States, Carole writes more than she cooks and cleans as little as possible. Find her on Twitterand Instagram, purposefully not photographing her food, and more seriously at Intentional Parenting.





in the Quiver

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