Eating oatmeal on a regular basis can do a lot for your body. Oats are packed with fiber (4 grams per 1/2 cup serving), which is one of the key nutrients you need to help you feel full and lose weight. It’s a complex carbohydrate, which is one of the best types of carbs you can have. Plus, it has a high amount of protein—5 grams per serving—and contains a good amount of iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, and vitamin B6. However, while there are a lot of nutritional benefits to a bowl of oatmeal, without any healthy oatmeal toppings or add-ins, that bowl of oatmeal by itself will be kind of bland.
By adding a few healthy oatmeal toppings, you can boost the nutritional content of your bowl even more and give your oatmeal a tasty upgrade. Plus, some of these toppings are incredibly helpful for your overall health—even losing weight!
Here are a few healthy oatmeal toppings to add to your bowl, and for more healthy eating tips, be sure to check out our list of 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.
For such a small amount, a teaspoon of chia seeds can do a lot in terms of boosting the nutritional value of your oatmeal. Chia seeds are full of omega-3s, which help with inflammation. Plus, for being so low in calories and carbs, chia seeds are packed with fiber. So by adding that teaspoon, you boost the fiber content of your bowl of oats from 4 to 5 grams.
Another easy way to boost the fiber content of your bowl is by adding a few scoops of canned pumpkin! Snag a can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix, those have more sugar) and toss in 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree in your oats. It only adds 21 calories to your bowl, but packs in the fiber (2 grams) and the full amount of vitamin A you’ll need for the entire day.
Because adding more fiber into your diet is a helpful way to lose weight, topping your oatmeal with raspberries is also an easy way to get that fiber in! Top your bowl of oatmeal with 1/2 cup of raspberries and you’ll double the fiber content of your bowl (4 grams per 1/2 cup of raspberries). Plus, raspberries help to make the bowl of oatmeal naturally sweet, which means you can keep that sugar count low.
Oats taste great with savory toppings, too! Adding a fried egg on top boosts the protein content (6 grams) of your oatmeal, as well as the fat content (5 grams). Adding protein and fat also elevates the satiety level of your oats, which means you’ll feel full for a longer period of time after breakfast. Or even enjoy savory oatmeal for lunch!
While there are a lot of easy packets of instant oatmeal out there, those typically are packed with lots of added sugars. Nevertheless, you can get the same great taste at home if you make a bowl of plain oats and add a teaspoon of maple syrup. This only adds 4 grams of sugar to your whole bowl and keeps the added calories under 20.
Another easy—and plant-based—way to get protein in your bowl is by adding a tablespoon of peanut butter. Peanut butter can actually do a lot for your weight loss! A simple tablespoon adds 4 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat, and 100 calories. It is calorie-dense, but because peanut butter is an excellent source of nutrients (niacin, manganese, vitamin E, magnesium phosphorus), you’re getting a lot of nutritional benefits on top of it being such a filling addition to your oats.
If you’re going to add a tablespoon of peanut butter, might as well top it with a few slices of banana to pair! Although bananas are higher in carbohydrates, sugar, and calories, they are still dense in fiber and potassium. Slice up 1/2 of a medium-sized banana and you’ll get around 1.5 grams of fiber, 211 milligrams of potassium, and only 8 grams of sugar and 53 calories. Again, adding fruit like a banana gives your bowl of oatmeal a touch of natural sweetness, so there’s no need to add more sugar. Try it yourself with our Healthy Oatmeal With Peanut Butter and Banana Recipe.
Nuts are an easy topping for oats, but if you’re not careful, you can easily overdo it on the calories. Adding 24 whole almonds adds an extra 164 calories to your bowl! Instead, opt for sliced almonds. Sliced almonds give you that same crunch that you desire without totally overdoing it. You can add 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds for just 61 calories! Plus, that small amount still adds a good amount of healthy fat (5 grams), protein (2 grams), and dietary fiber (1.3 grams).
Craving a little chocolate in the morning? Instead of opting for a large pile of calorie-dense chocolate chip pancakes, why not throw in a few dark chocolate chips into a bowl of oats? Sprinkle in 1/2 tablespoon of mini dark chocolate chips, which only increases the calories by 40. The sugar count is also low (4 grams), as well as the fat content (2 grams). Plus, it gives you that touch of sweetness without completely overdoing it!
Did you know avocado is one of the best foods you can have for weight loss? Registered dietitians say that avocados are a great food that will help you to feel full and satisfied. They are rich in fiber and healthy fats (which helps with fullness) and helps to slow down your digestion (leaving you feeling full for longer). If you add one serving of avocado—about 1/3 of the avocado—to your bowl of oatmeal, you’re adding 3 grams of fiber, 8 grams of filling monounsaturated fats, and only 80 calories to your bowl.
Because the health of your muscles is closely linked to your metabolic rate, it’s important to keep your muscles healthy and strong. One of the best foods to have for muscle health is actually pomegranates! Sure, they are a great source of fiber and vitamin C, but it can also significantly help with your gut health, digestion, and muscle health. Especially after your post-workout recovery!
For even more weight loss tricks with oats, check out our list of 25 Clever Ways to Lose Weight With Oatmeal.