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The Secret Trick for Making Your Oatmeal Healthier

This dietitian’s advice will boost the nutrition of your oatmeal immediately!

Oatmeal is certainly one of the healthiest breakfasts you can eat. In fact, eating oatmeal regularly has even been linked to living a longer life, and can even help with your heart health. So if oatmeal alone is so healthy, why would anyone want to make it healthier? Oatmeal may be considered one of the best foods to eat thanks to its high-fiber content, without anything added to that bowl of oatmeal, you may find yourself hungrier quicker. Which is why the secret trick for making your oatmeal healthier is adding in a protein and fat source.

This tip comes from Dr. Rachel Paul, PhD, RD from, who says "oatmeal by itself, while a healthy food, doesn't keep many people full for too long. Pair it with a protein and fat source, like peanut butter, to keep you full, instead of eating it plain."

Here's the nutritional science behind why adding fat or protein to your oatmeal would be considered the secret trick in making your oatmeal healthier, and for even more healthy eating tips, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

Fat and protein are two macronutrients that help keep you feeling full for hours after eating your meal. Fats take longer to go through your digestive tract, meaning that you will feel full for a longer period of time. While fats keep you feeling fuller longer, proteins help with silencing the hunger hormone ghrelin, which is activated when your body is in need of sustenance. If you have a proper amount of protein in your meal (aim for around 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal), the hormone levels of ghrelin will reduce, keeping you feeling full and satisfied.

While oatmeal does have some protein in it, it's not enough to keep you feeling full after your meal. Plus, without any fats in your bowl of oats, you'll likely feel hungry soon after eating breakfast.

An easy solution to making your oatmeal healthier is by adding a fat source and protein source to your oatmeal. A tablespoon or two of peanut butter is a great add-in because it provides both fat and protein to your bowl. Cooking your oatmeal in milk instead of water will also increase the fat and protein content.

Other great solutions include adding in nuts, seeds, protein powder, and Greek yogurt. You could even make your oatmeal savory by adding some bacon bits or a fried egg on top! Some oatmeal lovers will even mix in egg whites to boost the protein content without compromising too much of the flavor.

With an extra boost of fat and protein, your body will feel full and satisfied and get you through to your next meal. So add in your favorite peanut butter—or almond butter—top with some fresh berries, and you'll find yourself with healthier oatmeal in no time.

Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a freelance health and nutrition journalist. Read more about Kiersten
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