Why you should be eating oatmeal all year round — and 3 recipes to feed your oatmeal obsession this summer!

Haile Thomas is an In The Know cooking contributor. Follow her on Instagram and visit her website for more.

We’ve made it to that time of year. Sun-filled skies made for sun-kissed skin, luscious greenery just begging you to frolic and the beckoning of a lounge chair for peaceful lazing around. Fully awakened from the gentle blossoming of spring, we find ourselves seeking abundant nourishment. And when it comes to welcoming a new season, I’m always excited to find ways to care for my body while also tapping into nature’s delicious gifts. But no matter what time of year it is, each morning, we all find ourselves face-to-face with the same question: “What’s for breakfast?” So why not start there?

As we embrace these summer days, oatmeal might just be the last thing on your mind. But if you’re like me, a hearty bowl of oats is the most comforting and nourishing breakfast option, no matter the season. And with superpowers like supporting heart health, aiding in digestion and much more (see below!), oats deserve celebration year-round. Luckily, the abundance of summer offers beautiful, flavorful and fresh ingredients that can truly bring a vibrant twist to our near-and-dear classic breakfast food. Here are a few reasons why you might want to keep oats on your morning menu all summer long:

Starting your day right

One of the most extraordinary things about a bowl of oats first thing in the morning is its warming and grounding satiation. Oats are most famous for their fiber by the name of beta-glucan, which studies show helps slow digestion, reduce blood sugar levels and keep you full throughout the day. Beyond digestive support, oats are a fantastic source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, like vitamin E, vitamin B6, vitamin K, riboflavin, folate and niacin, to name a few. These nutrients are excellent for supporting immune, bone and heart health. Specifically, oats contain polyphenols, plant-based compounds rich in avenanthramides, a type of antioxidant that is nearly exclusive to oats. Avenanthramides can help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation in the body and aid in blood flow improvement. 

With benefits like those, who could resist a bowl of oatmeal?

Why eat seasonally?

Adding seasonal twists to not only your oats but also every meal, if possible, can genuinely have wonderful benefits for our bodies, the environment and our local communities as well. When we eat seasonally, we tune ourselves into the rhythms of nature and enjoy produce harvested at the height of its quality, nutrition and flavor. Eating seasonally can help reduce our carbon footprint and support more sustainable local food systems. Our food often has a laborious and environmentally taxing journey from farm to grocery store shelf, so reducing the distance our food must travel can be quite beneficial. Shop farmer’s markets in your area or directly from nearby farms if available to you. 

Seasonal eating, unfortunately, isn’t accessible for everyone due to systemic food injustice across the country. But supporting local growers and organizations (like Rise & Root Farm, for example) that work to bring healthy, fresh and seasonal foods to marginalized communities can help! 

What’s up for grabs this summer (June-Sept): 

Seasonal foods vary from region to region, but these produce items are generally available throughout the summer. Here are a few to get you excited about this new season:

  • Apricots
  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Basil
  • Bell Peppers
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Cherries (sweet & sour)
  • Chiles
  • Corn 
  • Cucumbers
  • Figs
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Green Onions
  • Lettuce
  • Mangos
  • Melon
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Zucchini 

Get creative with the seasons!

Instead of reaching for instant oatmeal (which often contains hefty amounts of added sugar, artificial flavors and preservatives), it’s a joy to get creative in the kitchen and whip up something tasty and nourishing that’s intentionally made in harmony with the seasons. 

I’ve got three oatmeal recipes currently on rotation that are just right for lovely summer mornings. Of course, have fun with these recipes and make them your own!

Ginger Carrot Cake Oat Bowl with Lemon Tahini Maple Drizzle

Credit: Haile Thomas

Serves: 1-2 people

Ginger Carrot Cake Oat Bowl Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup plant milk of your choice
  • 1/4 cup lite coconut milk
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats 
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

Lemon Tahini Drizzle Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Optional Toppings:

  • Chopped walnuts, pecans or nuts/seeds of your choice
  • Coconut flakes
  • Golden raisins
  • Seasonal fruit (like blueberries or blackberries!) 
  • Lemon tahini drizzle


  1. In a small to medium-sized pot over high heat, bring plant milk and coconut milk to a boil. Once liquid is boiling, add rolled oats, grated carrots and ginger. Simmer on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring every now and then.
  2. While the oats are cooking, quickly make your tahini drizzle. Add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. Mix spices, vanilla and desired amount of maple syrup into your oats. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Dress with additional toppings and lemon tahini drizzle. Enjoy!

Raspberry Coconut Almond Rose Oat Bowl

Credit: Haile Thomas

Serves: 1-2 people


  • 1/4 cup plant milk of your choice 
  • 1 cup lite coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/8 teaspoon rose water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter (can sub for your favorite nut or seed butter)
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries, divided in half

Optional Toppings:

  • Coconut flakes
  • Remaining ¼ cup of fresh raspberries
  • Hemp seeds
  • Almond slices


  1. In a small to medium-sized pot over high heat, bring plant milk and coconut milk to a boil.
  2. Once liquid is boiling, add rolled oats, rose water and vanilla extract. Simmer on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring every now and then.
  3. Mix in spices, desired amount of maple syrup and almond butter. Ensure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  4. Gently stir in ¼ cup of fresh raspberries.
  5. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.
  6. Dress with additional toppings. Enjoy!

Cherry Oatmeal Bake with Pineapple and Toasted Coconut

Credit: Haile Thomas

Serves: 1 person


  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder 
  • 1/2 of a very ripe banana
  • 1/3 cup plant milk of your choice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cashew butter (can sub for your favorite nut or seed butter)
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup 
  • 1/4 cup diced pineapple
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet cherries
  • 6-8 small pineapple chunks
  • 4 banana slices
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened toasted coconut chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a single-serving ramekin.
  2. In a small bowl, mix oats, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger until well combined.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, mash 1/2 a ripe banana. Add plant milk of your choice, vanilla extract, cashew butter and maple syrup. Stir well. Add the dry ingredients to your liquid mix and stir until combined. Mix in diced pineapple and sweet cherries. 
  4. Pour oat mixture into the prepared ramekin. Gently top with pineapple chunks and banana slices. Bake for 18-25 minutes or until lightly golden on top (mine came out beautifully around 22 minutes!). Remove from oven and top with toasted coconut chips. Enjoy!

If you enjoyed this article, check out this recipe for crispy sweet potatoes with blistered cherry tomatoes and pistachios!

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