Build Your Own Oatmeal [INFOGRAPHIC]

Welcome to the first installment of Food Insight’s Build Your Own Series! We are excited to share simple but tasty ways to spice up the healthiness of different foods. First up is oatmeal -- the versatile, fibrous option that’s perfect for breakfast or as a snack. If you’re new to oatmeal or just want to find more ways to enjoy it, keep reading.

First things first: choose your favorite oat style. The nutritional content and cooking instructions between some varieties of steel cut, rolled and quick oats can differ, so read labels to be sure you’re choosing the type that gives you the nutrition, texture, taste and cooking time you desire.

Next up is dairy, which makes for a great addition to oatmeal. Among other things, dairy products like yogurt and cow’s milk can add important nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, potassium and protein. If you can’t tolerate dairy, a fortified substitution like soy milk can work as well.

Let’s turn to protein. There are tons of excellent animal and plant sources of protein out there. Regardless of the source, protein can help build muscle and keep you feeling full for longer. For oatmeal we suggest nuts, nut butters and seeds. In addition to the protein and healthy fats, nuts and seeds can provide a crunchy or creamy texture.

Now we focus on fruit - it’s always a good option. The benefits of eating fruit are endless, so it’s no surprise they’re a great addition to oatmeal. Choose dried, canned or fresh varieties. Quick hint: if you choose dried you won’t need as much since this option is usually sweeter!

It’s time to top off your oatmeal with some final flavor. There are numerous options to choose from, such as coconut, cinnamon or cocoa powder. A little goes a long way! You can add it at the end or during cooking. Choose whichever (and whenever) your taste buds prefer.

Based on all the options available, it’s clear that oatmeal doesn’t have to be boring. Try any and all of the combinations listed, and you’ll be set with new recipes for days to come. Plus, an oatmeal creation is a great way to get a good mix of fiber, fruit, healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. And it doesn’t just have to be a breakfast food. Eat it as an afternoon snack, too. You do you!