Oatmeal can be a super healthy breakfast, but how do you make it sweet without adding a ton of sugar? Here are some healthy ideas!
Oatmeal is, in my opinion, one of the healthiest breakfast options out there.
Oatmeal can also help with weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and can give many other health benefits as well.
Unfortunately, oatmeal is also easy to turn into sugar bombs if we’re not careful. There’s nothing inherently wrong with sugar, but using too much can prevent us from eating more nutrient-filled foods.
Instead of buying the packets of instant oats, I’ve been buying a huge tub of rolled oats and adding my own mix-ins. It’s a lot cheaper, and definitely lower in sugar!
If you still like your oatmeal sweet (Which I do too) and are looking for ideas on how to sweeten plain oatmeal without all that sugar, I’ve got a huge list below!
Maple syrup and honey
These are considered natural sweeteners, and can be called natural sugar. They still HAVE sugar, but not any added sugar like plain sugar does. I prefer maple syrup over honey, but both are really good.
Fresh fruit / Frozen and dried fruit
This is the main way I sweeten my oatmeal! Fruits have a natural sweetness to them, with some being sweeter than others.
My favorite fruits include sliced bananas (Ripe bananas are sweeter), and diced apples. Others include fresh berries, frozen berries, and even dried fruits like raisins and cranberries.
Nut butters and seed butters
Nut butters add a different flavor and a bit of sweetness to oatmeal. If you want to lower your sugar intake, look for natural peanut butter. The ingredient list on the jar should have only peanuts, or peanuts and salt.
Other substitutes for peanut butter are almond butter, cashew butter, and sunflower butter.
Nut butters are a great way to add healthy fats and can give a bowl of oatmeal more staying power in your stomach!
Artificial sweeteners like Equal and Splenda are popular options too. People have strong opinions on whether or not these kinds of sweeteners are good for you, so use your best judgment.
Not only does milk make your oatmeal creamier, it can also add some sweetness!
I typically use cow’s milk. But other good options would be unsweetened plant milks, like almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, or oat milk.
For a 1/2 cup of dried oats, I usually use 1 cup of liquid. If you like a less liquidous oatmeal, aim for a 1/2 cup of liquid instead.
Pure extracts like vanilla extract can add flavor and sweetness to any oatmeal! Add anywhere from 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon and adjust according to your tastes.
I love adding cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice for extra flavor!
Cocoa powder is another good option. I’ll use that and peanut butter to make my oatmeal taste almost like a Reeses cup!
Protein powder is another good way to add flavor and sweetness, but use caution! Some powders just don’t mix well with oatmeal and can give it a grainy texture.
I used Nature’s Bounty chocolate powder for awhile and had no issues. But I’ve tried others and it just didn’t turn out well at all. Maybe vegan protein powder works better, I don’t know.
I say just experiment and see what works for you!
In the end, there’s nothing wrong with adding a bit of sugar to your oatmeal. Honestly, I love adding a tiny bit of brown sugar in mine because I love the taste. Just remember that a little goes a long way, and you can add sweet toppings like fruit to keep it sweet.
Favorite oatmeal recipes
Here are some healthy oatmeal recipes I use often! I typically only use old-fashioned oats, but there are other types of oats like instant oatmeal and steel-cut oats. I talk about the differences in this post!
- Homemade Granola Bars
- Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
- Peach Baked Oatmeal
- Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
- Pumpkin Pie 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.