1. Know them. Unflavoured, minimally processed oats–like steel-cut or rolled (old-fashioned) oats–are best. Steel-cut take longer than others to cook (30 minutes), but the rewards are worth it: a silky porridge with chewy texture and nutty flavour. Rolled oats cook faster and give a smoother texture.
2. Mix them. Cut cooking time and change up the texture by mixing equal amounts of steel-cut with rolled oats. 3. Toast them. Warm steel-cut oats in a pan with a nub of butter or some coconut oil before simmering in the pot. In five minutes, you'll get a whiff of shortbread–a good indication of the deliciousness to follow.
4. Let them be. Put the spoon down. Too much stirring makes oatmeal too mushy.
5. Season them. If you plan to go sweet, throw in a pinch of salt for balance. But don't stop there: Add a dash of vanilla or a bit of cinnamon to the cooking liquid.
6. Top them. This is the most important part and kids' favourite. The healthy options are endless: Try fruit (fresh pomegranate seeds or dried figs), chopped nuts (pecans or pistachios), seeds (chia or hemp), unsweetened coconut, a splash of nut or coconut milk and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey to finish it off.
Hot tip: Make a double batch of oats on Sunday and they'll keep in a sealed container in the fridge for the whole week.