Cooler weather has many of us craving oatmeal to start our day. And while plain old-fashioned oatmeal can be a wholesome way to start our day, some of those seemingly healthful grab & go cups can pack in nearly a day’s worth of added sugar. In today’s Love it, Like it, Hate it, we’re Getting the Skinny on best & worst grab & go oatmeal cups.
- Steel-cut Irish oats – least processed; lowest glycemic index; hearty texture.
- Old-fashioned rolled oats – steamed first, then rolled to make into flakes.
- Instant oatmeal – finely chopped, often has added salt + gums and/or caramel coloring, even in plain varieties. Higher glycemic index than steel-cut or rolled oats.
- All have soluble fiber, but just about 1 gram per serving (studies showing soluble fiber aids in cholesterol management include 10+ grams soluble fiber); add more soluble fiber by adding ground psyllium and/or ground flaxseed to oatmeal
- Boost protein: Dissolve a scoop of protein powder in a little milk or almond milk, then stir into oatmeal. Or pair oatmeal with hardboiled egg, plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.
- Ingredients include: Gluten free whole grain oats, chia seed, flaxseed, sea salt [unflavored variety]
- 210 calories – 5 grams fat – 160 mg sodium – 33 grams carb – 7 grams fiber – 1 grams sugar – 0 added sugar – 7 grams protein
- Ingredients include: Whole grain oats, whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate, fructose, quinoa, flaxseeds, walnuts, stevia
- 250 calories – 5 grams fat – 220 mg sodium – 33 grams carb – 4 grams fiber – 8 grams sugar – 6 grams added sugar – 20 grams protein
- Ingredients include for the Oat blend: gluten free oats, dried blueberries [dried blueberries, cane sugar, sunflower oil], cinnamon. Nut Butter: roasted peanuts, sea salt.
- 340 calories – 17 grams fat – 80 mg sodium – 39 grams carb – 3 grams fiber – 6 grams sugar – 2 grams added sugar – 12 grams protein
Approximately one-to-one ratio of protein to sugar, or slightly more protein than sugar
- Ingredients include: whole grain blend (rolled oats, steel cut oats, red quinoa), cane sugar, soy protein isolate, chicory root fiber, almonds, pecans, sea salt, ground vanilla beans [Madagascar Vanilla variety ]
- 190 calories – 3.5 grams fat – 130 mg sodium – 31 grams carb – 5 grams fiber – 9 grams sugar – 8 grams added sugar – 10 grams protein
- Ingredients include: Gluten-free oats, blueberries with sugar and oil, coconut milk powder, flax seeds, quinoa flakes, chia seeds, coconut sugar, blue spirulina powder [blueberry lemon variety]
- 240 calories – 7 grams fat – 160 mg sodium – 35 grams carb – 7 grams fiber – 6 grams sugar (approximately half is added sugar) – 8 grams protein
- Ingredients include: Whole grain oats, organic cane sugar, oat bran, chia seeds, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries
- 230 calories – 5 grams fat – 0 mg sodium – 42 grams carb – 6 grams fiber – 9 grams sugar (approximately half is added sugar) – 9 grams protein
- Ingredients include: Whole grain oats, pea protein concentrate, tapioca starch, cane sugar, milk protein concentrate, brown sugar, maple syrup, whey protein isolate [maple brown sugar variety]
- 230 calories – 3 grams fat – 200 mg sodium – 37 grams carb – 3 grams fiber – 12 grams sugar (mostly added sugar) – 14 grams protein
2x to 6x more sugar than protein
Quaker Overnight Oats
- Ingredients include: Whole grain rolled oats, sugar, dried cherries, almonds, quinoa, flaxseed salt, natural flavor [Cherry Almond & Vanilla variety]
- 320 calories – 8 grams fat – 210 mg sodium – 56 grams carb – 6 grams fiber - 22 grams sugar – 11 grams added sugar – 10 grams protein
Bob’s Red Mill GF Oatmeal with Flax & Chia [flavored]
- Ingredients include: Gluten free whole grain oats, cane sugar, hazelnuts, dried blueberries, chia seed, flaxseed, blueberry powder, sea salt [Blueberry and Hazelnut variety]
- 290 calories – 7 grams fat – 310 mg sodium – 49 grams carb – 8 grams fiber – 13 grams sugar – 9 grams
Happy Inside Cereal for Digestive Wellness by Kellogg [not GF]
- Ingredients include 4 types added sugar: Whole grain barley, whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, whole grain sorghum, yogurt probiotic pieces (sugar, oil, milk, nonfat Greek yogurt powder, bifidobacterium lactis), cane sugar, chicory root fiber, brown rice syrup, freeze-dried blueberries, cane syrup
- 210 calories – 4 grams fat – 115 mg sodium – 44 grams carb – 9 grams fiber – 9 grams sugar (mostly added sugar) – 4 grams protein
McCann’s Quick & Easy Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal [flavored] – 6x more sugar than protein
- Ingredients include: Whole grain Irish oats, sugar, salt, natural flavors, guar gum, caramel color
- 200 calories – 2 grams fat – 340 mg sodium – 41 grams carb – 3 grams fiber - 18 grams sugar (mostly all added sugar) – 3 grams protein
Want more from Molly? Click here to sign up for Nutrition Bites, her weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO, and her weekly column in NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune! And you can follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram: @MollyKimballRD