Oatmeal BuffetPin

This is the first post this week in a new weelicious series called DIY_ BUFFET.

A few months ago I hit a speed bump at mealtime. Every day I was whipping up the dishes I know to be among my kids’ favorites yet Kenya and Chloe were rejecting them.

“I don’t want it like that!”

“I don’t like it!”

“I’m not eating it that way!”


The whining and protesting rang in my ears like nails running down a chalkboard. One night I finally had enough and attempting my most motherly sense of calm I said to them, “Fine, then you make your meal the way you want it,” and proceeded to put out the bowls of food for them to serve themselves. It sparked an idea.

While I always like to get the kids involved in some facet of preparing our meals, at that moment I realized that the amount of control they have over how their meal appears on their plate can have almost everything to do with how much they will eat. Even if your kids are generally good eaters, it’s not realistic to believe you will always make meals that they will be excited about, so giving them some added say at the kitchen table can go a long way.

This leads me to my new mealtime obsession_ the DIY buffet!

As a kid, whenever my parents took us to a self serve restaurant my brother and I would be over the moon. My favorite one was a place in Louisville called KT’s. They would serve you a perfectly cooked plain hamburger or bowl of salad greens and the rest of how your meal turned out was entirely up to you. The buffet bar was stocked with everything from peanuts to pickles and you could make your dinner exactly the way you wanted it. I don’t think eating was ever as much fun for us kids.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be offering up a few of my favorite easy home buffet ideas, hoping it will inspire your kids to want to eat even more of the good food you’re making them at mealtime. Today’s DIY plan is for oatmeal.

I make a lot of different recipes for breakfast during the week, but oatmeal is always at the top of my list. Whether you make it effortlessly in the crock pot or traditionally on the stove top, oatmeal is a heathy, nutritious dish that fills your family’s bellies and gets their day off to a great start.

There is nothing better than giving your kids a little oatmeal ownership by setting up an easy breakfast buffet for them. Simply put out all of their favorite toppings and let them pick and choose how they want to adorn their bowls for a personalized, DIY morning meal experience that does a body (and mommy) good!

Oatmeal BuffetPin

DIY: Oatmeal Buffet

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Author: Catherine McCord
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • cooked oatmeal (1/2 cup per person)
  • dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, cherries, apricots, raisins)
  • seeds (sunflower, pumpkin)
  • nuts (sliced or chopped almonds, cashews, walnuts)
  • fresh fruits (grated sliced or chopped apples, bananas, berries)
  • spices (ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice)
  • milk (cow's, almond, rice, soy)
  • honey or agave


  • Place the oatmeal in large bowls with spoons and set out the remaining ingredients in smaller, colorful bowls to allow everyone to customize their own breakfast.
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About the Author

Catherine is a mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.


  1. Serving children at my church and will be setting up breakfast in buffet style, have any suggestion for centerpiece. Love your idea.

  2. I did a similar thing for dinner the other night when I was watching a friends two boys as well as my own rug rats. I was making fried rice, but wasnt sure if the kids would eat it with everything in it & mixed up. So I served up plain brown rice and then they got to choose from all the other ingredients (mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, carrots, omelette, marinated beef) that I’d stir fried separately (only a little more time/effort than the traditional method), and then got to choose whether to mix it up and add extra soy sauce or sweet chili. I let the kids serve themselves, then threw everything that was left back into the pan with some additional seasoning so that hubby & I got a version that was more traditional (& piping hot – what a novelty!).
    I got a “this is the best dinner ever” comment from my friend’s 4 year old, and their 6 year old cleaned his plate, so I think I can safely say “success”!!! Will definitely be trying this for future meals.

  3. This is a great idea. I would love to see what you would do with maybe a plain chicken breast for dinner!

  4. Awesome idea. My DD loves maple syrup in her oatmeal, and sometimes a tad of brown sugar instead. Nothing like a good bown of oatmeal to stock the tummies for a good morning.

  5. Great idea! I would add chia seeds, my new favorite healthy food. It goes in just about everything!

  6. What a wonderful idea! My kids always want to load their oatmeal up with sugar. This may be the ticket to leaving out the sugar all together. Thank you for all the fantastic ideas!

  7. This (the DIY buffet concept) is our lifestyle, thanks to having a family with totally different tastes! It works great, and everybody is still enjoying the same basic meal. 🙂

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