Mediterranean Diet Oatmeal

Experience the powerful benefits of antioxidants, Omega-3s, and polyunsaturated fats with this fresh, vibrant take on a Mediterranean diet oatmeal. This Mediterranean oatmeal recipe, filled with heart-healthy ingredients, provides a perfect way to improve your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. 

This Mediterranean oatmeal dish is not only good for you but it’s also perfect for those rushed mornings. It’s a single-serve, last-minute throw together meal that can easily be transformed into a grab-and-go option when you prepare it as overnight oats. 

Plus, by using slow-digesting carbohydrates like oats, you’re choosing a food with a low glycemic index that helps prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes.

This Mediterranean diet breakfast oatmeal is a winning combination of taste and nutrition, making your breakfast both delicious and healthful.

Mediterranean diet oatmeal in a yellow bowl, topped with strawberries and pumpkin seeds. Around the bowl are more scattered strawberries and pumpkin seeds.

Why Make Mediterranean Diet Oatmeal?

  • Oats are heart healthy providing fiber and important vitamins and minerals
  • Easy and quick to make
  • Customizable with toppings of your choice
  • Can be made ahead
  • Naturally vegan, and dairy free, supporting nutrition within many dietary patterns

Mediterranean Diet And Heart Health

The Mediterranean diet, is a dietary pattern traditionally followed in countries like Italy, Greece, Spain, and other countries along the Mediterranean Sea. It has been recognized for its numerous health benefits including heart health, weight management, and overall longevity.

The Mediterranean diet is more about the overall pattern of healthy eating — fresh, whole foods, rather than processed ones — rather than strict calorie or nutrient counting.

Numerous studies suggest that the Mediterranean diet can help(12)

  • reduce heart disease risk by 30% 
  • prevent stroke
  • manage weight
  • lower risk of type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer like colon cancer  
  • Improve memory and lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease like the mind diet

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Oatmeal And Mediterranean Diet

I’ve written about the benefits of oatmeal and heart health many times as it is a food that can lower blood pressureunclog arteries, and an important component of heart healthy diets like post stent dietsPAD diet and lower cholesterol diet

Oats are celebrated for their health benefits, including high fiber content, particularly a type of soluble fiber known as beta-glucan that can help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels (or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol), blood pressure, and manage blood sugars. 

Oats also provide protein, vitamins, and minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins. Making oatmeal a nutritious way to start the day.

Oatmeal fits perfectly into the Mediterranean diet. Oats are a type of whole grain, and whole grains are a key component of the Mediterranean diet. 

Oatmeal can be made even more Mediterranean-style by adding fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds, which are also key components of the Mediterranean diet. You can sweeten it with a bit of honey, a natural sweetener often used in Mediterranean cuisine.

I’ve broken down the different types of oats used to make oatmeal, each offering a different texture, nutrition profile and cooking time. All types of oatmeal can be eating on a Mediterranean diet. 

  • Steel-Cut Oats (Irish Oats): These are the whole oat groats that have been chopped into pieces but not rolled. They have a chewy texture and nutty flavor, and take the longest to cook.
  • Rolled Oats (Old-Fashioned Oats): These are oat groats that have been steamed and rolled into flakes. This process allows them to cook more quickly than steel-cut oats, while still retaining a fair bit of texture.
  • Quick Oats: These are similar to rolled oats but cut into smaller pieces and rolled thinner. They cook in just a few minutes but have a mushier texture when prepared.
  • Instant Oats: These are the most processed of the oat varieties. They are pre-cooked, dried, and then rolled. They cook very quickly and have a soft, mushy texture.
 Steel Cut OatsRolled Oats Or Old Fashioned OatsQuick or One Minute Oats Instant Oatmeal Packages
Serving Size1/2 cup (40 g)1/2 cup (40 g)1/2 cup (40 g)1 Package
Dietary Fiber6 g5 g4 g of fiber  (2 g from soluble fiber)3 g of fiber (only 1 from soluble fiber)
Glycemic Index52556783

Table 1: Key nutritional differences between steel-cut oats and rolled oats (34567)

Remember to choose whole grain oats such as steel-cut oats or old-fashioned rolled oats as they are less processed and maintain more of their fiber and nutrients. Instant oatmeal, especially the flavored packets, often have added sugars and aren’t as beneficial from a nutritional standpoint.

Learn more about oat fiber nutrition and heart benefits and oat fiber vs oat flour vs oat bran vs oatmeal and how they relate to heart health.  

Image of Veronica Rouse with Free 7 day heart healthy meal plan freebie.

What To Eat For Breakfast On The Mediterranean Diet

Start your day off with nutritious Mediterranean diet breakfast options.  These options are fast and easy for busy and rushed weekday mornings. Whole grains (like oats!), olive oil instead of butteravocado, beans, fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, yogurt and vegetables are the focus on this way of eating. 

In the Mediterranean they flavor their dishes with fresh or dried herbs and spices instead of salt. Here are a few of my favorites Mediterranean diet inspired breakfast options:

5 Ways To Use Oatmeal On The Mediterranean Diet

  1. Mediterranean diet breakfast oatmeal  – like this vegan oatmeal with lentils
  2. Oats in Smoothies or Protein shakes – like this avocado and oat smoothie.
  3. Protein balls or energy balls – like these pumpkin balls or turmeric energy balls.
  4. Oats in baked goods – try these lentil muffins or 3 ingredient pancakes
  5. Oat bran recipes – check out these 15 recipes using oat bran
  6. Bonus  – Oatmeal soup! Not a traditional breakfast recipe, but who says you can have lunch for breakfast?

Remember to experiment and have fun!

Ingredients In Mediterranean Diet Oatmeal

For this Mediterranean oatmeal recipe, you only need a few ingredients! 

Steel cut oats – don’t use instant or quick oats.  For this recipe I recommend the least processed types of oat called steel cut oats.  If you don’t have that, rolled or old fashioned oats will do (like in this creamy oatmeal recipe).  

Milk – I recommend soy milk here as it can help lower cholesterol levels as described in the Portfolio diet

Toppings like – fruit, nuts and sweeteners. This recipe offers lots of opportunities for variations and flavors.

How To Make Mediterranean Diet Oatmeal

To make a Mediterranean diet breakfast oatmeal gather your steel-cut and any desired spices, like a touch of cinnamon or nutmeg and soy milk. Place all these ingredients into a saucepan, and then bring it to a boil.

Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to low, creating a gentle simmer. This is where the magic happens. Stir the mixture consistently, about every few minutes or so, to encourage a creamy consistency and to prevent the oats from sticking to the bottom of the pan. This steady stirring not only keeps your oats from burning but also helps to release the natural creaminess of the oats.

After about 15 minutes, your oatmeal should be perfectly cooked, showcasing a thick and creamy consistency that’s not only satisfying but also nutritious. Remove the saucepan from heat.

Now comes the fun part – customization. Distribute your Mediterranean oatmeal between bowls and top it with your favorite Mediterranean diet-inspired items.

Fresh fruits like berries or figs, a sprinkle of nuts or seeds for a crunch, a drizzle of honey for a touch of natural sweetness, or even a dusting of cinnamon are all wonderful choices. 

These toppings not only enhance the taste but also boost the nutritional profile, making your oatmeal a well-rounded Mediterranean diet meal. 

Video Tutorial

Recipe Variations

I love that this Mediterranean oatmeal recipe is so versatile.  While the Mediterranean oatmeal as listed is delicious and jam packed with heart-healthy nutrition, you might get bored if you follow the same recipe every time you eat it. You can easily add ingredients to this Mediterranean oats for variation, or try Mediterranean overnight oats.

Try These Add-ins

Customize your Mediterranean oatmeal recipe with these toppings.  The flavors are endless. 

  • fruits – fresh, frozen, dried like raisins, apricots, apples, bananas, cherries or pears
  • vegetables – grated carrots, zucchini, or pumpkin
  • nuts or nut butter – like peanut butter, almonds, walnuts, pecans
  • seeds – chia seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
  • milk – switch up the soy milk for almond milk, oat milk, or cows milk
  • flavor – chocolate chips, chia jam, vanilla, cinnamon, paprika, or ginger to name a few
  • protein – with hemp or pea protein powder
  • yogurt – for extra creaminess, and Greek yogurt provides extra protein too
  • sweetener is optional – I prefer to use fruit for natural sweetness, but feel free to add honey, maple syrup, stevia, monk fruit or brown sugar as other options.

Mediterranean Diet Overnight Oats Recipe

Mediterranean overnight oats are another way to add versatility to this recipe. They are prepared the day before, and “cooked” in the fridge overnight by soaking in liquid. This soaking of raw oats in liquid (usually milk) creates a pudding like texture, and adding crunchy toppings like walnuts help to provide that satisfying crunch.

You basically eat the oats uncooked, but the soaking overnight helps them to absorb the liquid, plump and soften. 

The ratio of overnight oats to liquid is important. Use the following ratio of one part oats to one part milk or liquid for optimal results. 

Flavor combinations of Mediterranean diet overnight oats are endless. Use the toppings above for inspiration or try my pecan pie overnight oatsbanana cream overnight oatsblueberry cheesecake overnight oatsoat bran overnight oats or pb2 overnight oats. Technically, all of these recipes fall into the category of Mediterranean diet overnight oats. 

But this Mediterranean diet oatmeal recipe can also be adapted to a Mediterranean overnight oats recipe.  All you have to do is mix all of the ingredients together and store it in the fridge overnight. You may want to switch out the steel cut oats and use rolled or Old Fashioned oats instead.

In the morning, you can eat the Mediterranean overnight oats cold, or heat it up in the microwave for a cooked dish.  The choice is up to you! Mediterranean overnight oats is an awesome make ahead meal. 

Gluten Free

All ingredients are naturally gluten-free, but you will need to ensure that your oats have been processed and packaged in a gluten-free facility to ensure there is no cross-contamination. Read the package label for information on its processing. 

Dairy Free 

Dairy-free as is! 

Vegan 

Vegan as is!

Leftovers

I usually store my oats – either Mediterranean diet overnight oats or Mediterranean diet oatmeal – for no more than 4 days in the fridge. The longer they are in the fridge the more liquid they absorb, so be sure to add extra liquid if needed.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Oatmeal On Mediterranean Diet?

Oatmeal is on the Mediterranean diet. This way of eating is centered on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Oatmeal is a whole grain, high in fiber and various nutrients. It can be a fantastic component of a balanced, Mediterranean-style breakfast or snack.

What Kind Of Oatmeal Can I Eat On The Mediterranean Diet?

The kind of oatmeal you can eat on the Mediterranean diet should be whole grain like steel-cut oats or old-fashioned rolled oats. These types of oats are minimally processed and retain the most nutrients. They also have a lower glycemic index than more processed varieties, like instant oats or heavily processed oatmeal packets that are loaded with sugar, meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar as drastically.

When preparing your oatmeal, consider adding Mediterranean diet-friendly toppings like fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds.

What Kind Of Cereal Can You Eat On The Mediterranean Diet?

Kinds of cereals you can eat on the Mediterranean diet are high in fiber and low in added sugars such as oatmeal, muesli, shredded wheat, or whole grain puffed rice. Avoid cereals that are high in added sugars or that contain artificial colors or flavors.

Consider adding Mediterranean diet-friendly toppings like fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds to provide more nutrients.

Can You Eat Instant Oatmeal On Mediterranean Diet?

Yes, you can eat instant oatmeal on the Mediterranean diet, but it’s not the best option compared to other types of oats. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes whole, minimally processed foods, and while instant oatmeal is still technically a whole grain, it is more processed than steel-cut or old-fashioned rolled oats.

Instant oatmeal often cooks faster because it is more heavily processed, which means it has been pre-cooked, dried, and then rolled thinner than traditional oats. This processing often results in a loss of fiber and can increase the glycemic index, which means your body digests them more quickly, leading to a quicker rise in blood sugar levels.

Furthermore, flavored instant oatmeal varieties are often high in added sugars and artificial flavors, which are not in line with the principles of the Mediterranean diet.

If you’re in a rush and need to use instant oats, aim for plain versions without added sugar and flavoring. Enhance your instant oats by adding Mediterranean diet-friendly ingredients like fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds.

However, whenever possible, it’s better to opt for less processed oat varieties, like steel-cut or old-fashioned rolled oats, as they provide more nutritional benefits in line with the Mediterranean diet.

What Are The Best Grains To Eat On Mediterranean Diet? 

The best grains to eat on the Mediterranean diet are barley like barley flakes or barley porridge, quinoa, bulgur, farro, couscous, oats and brown rice. 

These examples are whole grains which are rich in fiber and nutrients. Remember, the Mediterranean diet is not just about individual foods, but rather the overall pattern of eating – plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean proteins, and healthy fats, with minimal processed foods and added sugars.

Other Oatmeal Recipes

Other Mediterranean Diet Recipes

Mediterranean Diet Oatmeal Recipe  

Bon Appétit! Follow the instructions below for our delicious Mediterranean diet breakfast oatmeal recipe. Enjoy oats in a variety of ways and remember that following the Mediterranean diet doesn’t have to be boring!

Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment. Ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!


Mediterranean diet oatmeal in a yellow bowl, topped with strawberries and pumpkin seeds. Around the bowl are more scattered strawberries and pumpkin seeds.

Mediterranean Diet Oatmeal

This Mediterranean diet breakfast oatmeal is a winning combination of taste and nutrition, making your breakfast both delicious and healthful.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 179 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Medium to large pot

Ingredients
  

Oatmeal

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Toppings

  • berries
  • sunflower seeds

Suggestions

  • Add extra soy milk to serve

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot, boil 3 cups of water.
  • Add the oats and soy milk and bring to a boil.
  • Let it simmer for 10-20 minutes (cook longer if you want a softer texture). Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the pot.
  • Stir in cinnamon and vanilla.
  • Scoop into a bowl and top with berries, and sunflower seeds. Enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 179kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 8gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 31mgPotassium: 77mgFiber: 5gSugar: 0.4gVitamin A: 127IUVitamin C: 0.02mgCalcium: 106mgIron: 2mg
Keyword heart healthy, mediterranean diet oatmeal, oatmeal
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