Oatmeal: Watch What You Add!

Oatmeal is a wonderful choice to start your day! Full of fiber, complex carbohydrates and antioxidants, oatmeal has been shown to help lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar and help jump start your metabolism as a hearty low fat breakfast.

So, when does oatmeal turn from a health food to a dietary disaster? It depends on the fixin’s. Too many sugary additions can turn this healthy option into a dessert in disguise!
A recent report on ABC New discusses the boom of oatmeal options at fast food restaurants. It is great to see that fast food is jumping on the healthy revolution bandwagon, let’s just make sure they don’t fool us again! Click HERE for the ABC News clip!
Fast Food Oatmeal Breakdown
(click the restaurant name for more nutritional information from the website)
McDonald’s Fruit and Maple Oatmeal
Oatmeal (190)
Diced apples (10)
Cranberry raisin blend (70)
Light cream (20)
TOTAL: 292 calories, 32g sugar
* Read Mark Bittman’s blog on his take on this “healthy” breakfast choice HERE! I love how he just tells it like it is.
Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal
Oatmeal (140)
Mixed nuts (100)
Brown sugar (50)
Dried fruit (100)
TOTAL: 390 calories, 33g sugar
Jamba Juice Organic Steel Cut Oatmeal
*Comes in a variety of flavors and cooked with soymilk
Apple-Cinnamon with brown sugar and fruit (290 calories, 25g sugar)
Berry Cherry Pecan brown sugar, dried fruit, glazed pecans (340 calories, 27g sugar)
Blueberry & Blackberry with brown sugar and fruit (290 calories, 24g sugar)
Fresh Banana with brown sugar and fruit (280 calories, 19g sugar)
Plain with brown sugar (220 calories, 12g sugar)
*comes in three sizes (small 8oz, medium 12oz, large 16oz)
Oatmeal (170, 260, 340) ~1g sugar for all sizes
Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal (190 w/ 10g sugar; 280 w/ 14g sugar; 370 w/ 19g sugar)
Steel Cut Oatmeal cooked with brown sugar (222)
*choose two toppings out of several options
Topping choices include (nutritional information not available on the website):
Brown sugar
Fresh strawberries
Dried cranberries
Break Bar bits
Whipped cream
It is nice to have the option of a healthy breakfast when you are not at home, but nothing can beat the flavor and experience of a nice hot bowl of oatmeal at your kitchen table!
I recently have discovered Pumpkin Oatmeal. I pour one cup of almond or soymilk in a pot, add 1/2 cup Old Fashioned Oatmeal (you may also use steel cut if desired), 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice (or you can use cinnamon and nutmeg). Cook until desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Top with chopped walnuts and/or pecans and sliced banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top!
Have you tried any of these fast food oatmeal options? If so, which do you rank is the best bang for your buck?
Krista Haynes, R.D.