Recent studies may have confirmed the health risks of skipping breakfast, but it's still hard to get fired up about eating, say, a typically healthful hot cereal breakfast in uncomfortably steamy weather. But there's a solution, because on a hot summer morning, a cold, refreshing bowl of oatmeal is a perfect way to get your daily dose of the cholesterol-fighting, fiber-rich cereal without burning up. No, really. "Cold oatmeal is a really nice alternative to people who can't fathom eating really hot oatmeal on a 90-degree day," says Samantha Stephens, chef and owner of OatMeals, a New York cafe that specializes in cereal-based dishes. Cold oatmeal is also a bit more substantial than cooked oats, given the dense texture of the raw oats – helping to keep you full longer after a healthful breakfast.
Stephens opts for rolled oats in her New York-based oatmeal bar rather than steel-cut oats, since the raw oats more readily absorb the liquid without heat. Stephens blends the oats with non-fat Greek yogurt and skim milk, mixes it well, and serves it as is. You can also add the ingredients and refrigerate overnight – making it extra chilled but also a little soggy for some tastes. She then sprinkles the oatmeal with chia seeds for crunch and to thicken the oatmeal.
Stephens sweetens the concoction with honey and then adds toppings. Fresh or dried fruit, nuts, nut extracts, or nut butters are ideal. Here's how to make the oatmeal and three of our favorite toppings off the menu of OatMeals.
The Base Oatmeal
Mix together 1 cup oats, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, a teaspoon of chia seeds and at least 1/4 cup skim milk (or more, to achieve your preferred consistency). Don't like skim milk? Try almond, coconut or soy milk instead. Then, add honey or agave nectar to taste. This concoction will keep in the fridge for up to two days.
Cold Oatmeal, Three Ways
• Peanut butter banana: Add a tablespoon of peanut butter to the oatmeal along with 1/2 or 3/4 cup banana slices (about one banana).
• Raspberry almond: Add 1/2 cup diced almonds and 1/2 cup fresh raspberries.
• Add extra milk or honey as needed to achieve your preferred flavor and consistency.