Oatmeal Challenge

We are two roommates, Alison and Sarah, that share a room, a bunk bed, and most of our days together. This is our first blog post featuring a cause that we find to be extremely worthwhile: oatmeal. At the beginning of last week the two of us were conversing about the many benefits of oatmeal, some of which are being heart healthy, filling, cheap, and a great source of fiber, but the list goes on and on. As we discussed the benefits, we also started to wonder why oatmeal was thought of predominantly as a breakfast food. What has oatmeal done to deserve being limited to use at just one time of the day? Why weren't more people diversifying the use of oatmeal and allowing it to flourish as a versatile whole grain that can accompany a plethora of meals? The discussion continued as follows...
"What if someone ate oatmeal for every meal for a week?" -Alison
"That would be really healthy and affordable," -Sarah
*Prolonged eye contact to show deep consideration of the idea* -Alison
"I'd totally do that with you," -Sarah
"Really!" -Sarah
...and the Oatmeal Challenge was born. The Oatmeal Challenge is two girls taking a stand for a food that we feel has been the victim of prejudice for years, a food that has been unfairly limited to breakfast when it has all the capabilities of being lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks too. The Oatmeal Challenge is us having an oat meal every meal for a week. This week started Sunday, September 17th, and now this blog post marks the end of the Oatmeal Challenge and the beautiful journey that it was.

Day 1:

In all of our excitement to start the challenge, Sarah happened to misjudge the water measurements and microwave timing of the instant oats. This user error could happen to anyone, especially those who excel at not following directions. Alison went a bit "nuts" with her walnut and peanut butter oatmeal which was a perfect combination of creamy and crunchy to start the morning. This was our Sunday brunch.
First Oatmeal Fail: No Use Crying over Spilled Oats
Alison's Walnut and Peanut Butter Oatmeal

For our first oat dinner, we had steel cut oats with chicken, carrots, zucchini, and sweet/tangy stir fry sauce in the Asian inspired Stir Fry Oats.  In the words of our third roommate, Bailey, "Wow, this is a lot better than I thought it would be. This actually tastes really good!" This came as no surprise to us, the oat enthusiasts.
Stir Fry Oats

Day 2:

Breakfast consisted of old fashioned oats infused with potassium-rich bananas. As we like to say around here, a day started with oatmeal is a day full of promise.
Banana 'n' Oats
We made a portable lunch for the day on campus with this protein-packed meal of steel cut oats, spinach, chicken, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Delicious Meal On the Go
We transformed the steel cut oats into a creamy concoction by swapping out a cup of the water for almond milk and folding Gouda cheese into the oats. After adding sauteed mushrooms, onion and chicken, this meal became a chart topper in the Oatmeal Challenge.
Risotto Inspired Oats

The Kitchen where Oats Come Alive

Day 3:

This bowl of apple and cinnamon oatmeal brought a homey, old-fashioned feel to breakfast with all the comfort of Grandma's Apple Pie and all the nutrition of rolled oats.
Apple and Cinnamon Oatmeal
Inspired by a household favorite snack, carrots and hummus, this lunch had protein and a pop of color with a whole lot of flavor! The hummus made the meal a bit thicker and the carrots added an exciting crunch. A great experience was had by all.
Chicken, Carrots and Hummus with Steel Cut Oats
For dinner we had Oat Crusted Tilapia. We coated the fish with a bit of flour, dipped it into a mix of egg and almond milk, and covered it in rolled oats before cooking the fish on the stove with a bit of canola oil. With the lemon adding a zesty flavor and a side of lightly cooked spinach, this meal became our new favorite of the week.

Oat Crusted Tilapia

Day 4: 

This peanut butter and honey oatmeal was simple yet delicious. With a tip from one of our fellow oatmeal lovers, we bought the powdered peanut butter that mixes in perfectly with any bowl of oats. 
Peanut Butter and Honey Oatmeal
This PB&J inspired lunch combined steel cut oats, peanut butter powder and freshly cut apples to have all the flavor of the classic PB&J with all the nutrition of these hearty ingredients.
PB&J Oatmeal
We closed out the day with this chicken fried rice inspired dish. With broccoli, carrots, egg, chicken, and soy sauce we felt that the steel cut oats were transformed into this takeout favorite.
Chicken Fried Rice Inspired Oatmeal

A Closer Look: Oooooo Ahhhhh
Day 5:

Peanut butter and apple oatmeal was so nice we had it twice. This was really a great combination of flavors and textures.
Apples and Peanut Butter with Rolled Oats
Oatmeal in a mug: the next big thing in snack food. This was the perfect way to cook up a quick fix of oats for a midday snack.
Half Eaten Oatmeal in a Mug
Our relationships with our family and friends always come first, even to the Oatmeal Challenge. This burger dinner cooked by our close friends was an occasion that we couldn't pass up, but we were sending positive thoughts towards our favorite grain!
Cheat Day with the Finest of Friends!
We have decided that dessert oatmeal should be the new craze. We whipped up this Peach Pie Oatmeal with honey, peaches and cinnamon that mixed into the rolled oats and made for a delicious treat.
Peach Pie Oatmeal
Day 6:

After a breakfast of a classic bowl of oatmeal, we went to visit Bailey at her work, a local restaurant called The Corner. Unfortunately, The Corner is not as progressive as we are with the use of oats, but they did have the classic oatmeal raisin cookie. The food there is always tasty and this was no exception. 
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Courtesy of The Corner
This innovative use of oats combined rolled oats, almond milk, and egg whites with a pinch of baking soda and salt to make a mouth-watering crust for our pesto pizza. The pizza was topped with mozzarella, mushrooms, onions, spinach and tomato, which tasted as amazing as it looks. Bailey tried this dish and was floored by the use of oats. "I really thought the dishes you made would just taste like a bunch of random foods on top of oats, but you really are onto something here." -Bailey
Oatmeal Crust Pizza

Three Slices of Great Tasting Food
Day 7:

This breakfast burrito bowl inspired oatmeal combined tomatoes, avocado, eggs, green chili, and chicken sausage with steel cut oats. It was a hearty brunch that was full of colors and flavors.
Breakfast Burrito Bowl Oatmeal
The Oat Crusted Tilapia was a favorite of the week. We had it again and this time we accompanied it with a tomato and avocado salad. This meal did not disappoint.
Oat Crusted Tilapia
Overall Feelings about the Oatmeal Challenge

After this week I feel that oats are even more versatile than I had imagined. Each of these meals I would gladly make and eat again. I look forward to working oats into many more meals in the future. This was definitely a game changer. My advice to others who are thinking about liberating oats from the confines of breakfast is not to let anything hold you back. If you think it might taste good, try it. There are NO LIMITS to where oats can go!
-Sarah Olson

The Oatmeal Challenge exceeded my expectations. I could honestly see myself ordering most of these meals in a restaurant, and I would encourage more people to incorporate oats into more of their meals! After this week, I'm excited to repeat some of these meals again, and I'm sad to say goodbye to a week of oatmeal, partly because there's no food left in my fridge, but also because it was such a fun week!
-Alison Schlichting


  1. I found this when looking for oatmeal recipes online! Thanks girls!
    -A fellow progressive oatmeal lover from Wisconsin

  2. honestly this changed my life <3 xoxo amanda cary


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