Last updated: Mar 02, 2016
You already know a good breakfast helps keep you from overeating the rest of the day. But research shows oatmeal's better at that than other breakfast foods—it's about twice as filling as muesli or white bread. Oatmeal's also rich in soluble fiber, and, paired with a low-fat diet, boosting your fiber can block your body from absorbing fat, helping you get—and stay—trim.


The best news? Whether you spend 30 minutes making the old-school kind or 30 seconds on the instant, you'll still get all the heart-healthy benefits of whole grains. But beware: As the prep time goes down, calories, sugar, and sodium go up. Check out how the choices compare.

Sprinkle it on: make your bowl even better with these healthy toppers

• Brown sugar. Natural sweetness without many calories; 2 teaspoons has 23 calories, 0 g fat, 6 g sugar, 0 g fiber.

• Blueberries. Fresh or frozen, an antioxidant and fiber boost; 1/2 cup has 42 calories, 0 g fat, 7 g sugar, 2 g fiber.

• Cranberries (dried, sweetened). Bladder-infection protection and healthy gums; 1/4 cup has 92 calories, 0 g fat, 20 g sugar, 2 g fiber.

• Chopped almonds. Extra calcium and crunch; 1/4 cup has 164 calories, 14 g fat (sat 1 g, mono 9 g, poly 3.5 g), 1 g sugar, 3 g fiber, 70 mg calcium.

• Ground flax seeds. Heart-healthy omega-3s; 1 tablespoon has 37 calories, 3 g fat (sat 0 g, mono 0.5 g, poly 2 g), 0 g sugar, 2 g fiber.

• Raisins. Satisfying chewiness and an antioxidant boost; 1/4 cup has 123 calories, 0 g fat, 24 g sugar, 1.5 g fiber.

Find your own grab-and-go oatmeal bar recipe here. You'll save nearly 70 calories over the store-bought kind.