Is there a best time of the day to eat oatmeal?
Oatmeal is a super popular breakfast option. And for me, it’s one of the best breakfast options! It only takes a few minutes to put together and is easy to customize with your favorite toppings. And for those with weight loss goals, you might find oatmeal being recommended quite often.
You’ve probably also heard about timing your meals and how it’s better to eat certain foods at specific times.
The quick answer is: There is no best time to eat oatmeal. Or any food, for that matter. Unless you’re a pro athlete training for hours a day, there’s really no need to time your meals.
There are PLENTY of benefits of actually eating oatmeal, though. Keep reading to learn more!
Oats have an amazing nutritional profile! Here are the basic nutrition facts of a 1/2 cup of dried rolled oats:
- 150 calories
- 2 grams of fat
- 27 grams of carbs
- 4 grams of fiber
- 5 grams of protein
In addition, eating a bowl of oats is a great way of getting in some essential vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and iron.
Oats are a POWERHOUSE of nutrition, especially with the high fiber content! The average person needs between 25-35 grams of fiber per day, so the 4 grams in oats are definitely beneficial.
Oatmeal is also high in carbs, but a lot of that is complex carbohydrates. This means your body takes longer to digest it, helping to regular blood sugar levels.
Another thing to remember is that I’m talking about plain rolled oats here, not those instant oatmeal packets. The tubs of rolled oats have zero added sugar, while the instant oats typically have some added sugars.
Those packets are super convenient and can be a fun option sometimes. But I like adding my own ingredients and controlling how much I put in.
There are also different types of oats, and a difference between steel-cut oats, rolled oats, and quick oats. Be sure to check out my post on oatmeal meal prep to learn more about how to use them!
I recommend oats to all of my clients, and for good reason! They help with so many things:
- Helps lower cholesterol, and lowers the risk of heart disease
- Regulates blood sugar and can help prevent Type 2 diabetes
- Boost fullness levels
- Helps you be more “regular” in the bathroom thanks to the fiber in the whole grains
- Gluten free, making this a good option for those with celiac disease. Oats are naturally gluten-free, but some might be made in a factory that could contaminate the oats. If you need to, make sure you buy oats that are labeled certified gluten free!
Is oatmeal good for weight loss?
When I was losing my baby weight, I LOVED eating oatmeal in the mornings. In fact, I still eat oatmeal a few days a week.
Because oatmeal takes awhile to digest, you stay full and are less likely to grab a snack.
Now, you still have to use wisdom when putting things IN your oatmeal. You can add milk, nuts, nut butters, fruit, etc., and those are great for adding extra protein and nutrients. If you add too many, though, you add extra calories which will slow down weight loss.
Here are some healthy toppings you can put in your oatmeal:
- Milk (Unsweetened almond milk is good too if you want fewer calories)
- Chia seeds (Lots of healthy fats and extra fiber!)
- Flax seeds
- Greek yogurt
- Fresh fruit (Sliced banana, diced apples, etc.)
- Nut butters
- Maple syrup
- Brown sugar (I find that when I add fruit, I don’t need to use much sugar!)
- Sunflower seeds
When is the best time to eat oatmeal?
If you’re eating oatmeal to help lose weight, there’s no specific time of day that magically works better. If you like oats for breakfast, do that! Want some oatmeal for dinner? Go for it!
You get the same nutritional benefits no matter what time of day you eat. However, some people may prefer one part of the day versus another. Here are some examples:
Benefits of eating oatmeal in the morning
Because oats have a good amount of fiber, they help people stay full longer in the mornings. Oatmeal can take a long time to digest, so it stays with you longer. If you feel full and satisfied longer, you may not have the need to grab a morning snack.
I don’t do well on an empty stomach in the mornings, which makes oatmeal the ultimate breakfast food for me. Especially right before a run!
Benefits of eating oatmeal at night
Oatmeal can actually be a delicious evening snack! Again, the fiber from the oats helps keep you full. But oats also help the body produce melatonin, which helps regulate your sleep and wake-up times.
You still get the melatonin benefit even if you eat oats in the morning, though. But eating oats in the evening can help stop late-night eating.
In the end, you find a time that works best for you. One of the best ways to get all your nutrients is to actually EAT them, no matter the time. I’d rather you just eat the healthy food than worry about the perfect time to eat them.
I eat oats in many different ways. Here are some amazing recipes that incorporate rolled oats!
- Peanut Butter Energy Bites
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats
- The Best Overnight Oats Recipes
- Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
- Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
- How to Meal Prep Oatmeal for Busy Mornings
- Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
- Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.