Is Instant Oatmeal Healthy?
A bowl of classic oatmeal packs a hearty dose of vitamins, protein and cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. So, what about the packets? We've got the facts on this convenience food.
Instant oatmeal is partially cooked and dried for fast preparation. Contrary to popular belief, instant oats have the same nutritional benefits of regular oats. The biggest problem with instant varieties? All those flavored options can be bursting with added sugar! Many of your favorite flavored brand will set you back at least 3 to 4 teaspoons of added sugar per serving. Some brands may also add sodium as a preservative, but there are brands out there without it. You can also stock up on plain instant oats and simple add 2 teaspoons maple syrup, honey, brown sugar or agave for a flavorful breakfast with half the sugar of most presweetened varieties. A little fresh fruit will also up the fiber content.
Shopping for Instant Oats
The packets and cups can come in super handy when pressed for time or traveling. Add some trail mix and a piece of fresh fruit and you have yourself an easy and healthy breakfast anywhere. Check ingredient labels carefully. Choose a brand with minimal ingredients and the least amount preservatives and added sugars. Here are some brands we swear by.
Enjoy your oatmeal with a built-in dose of mood boosters like probiotics or caffeine. Sweetened with dates and other fruit so there is no added sugars, flavors like “Berry Bliss” with ginger and cardamom or “It’s Nuts” with almonds and coconut are sure to lift your spirits.
Instant options can be handy and healthy, check those ingredient lists for the best options.
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. She is the author of four cookbooks First Bites: Superfoods for Babies and Toddlers, The Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook, The Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook and Healthy Quick and Easy Smoothies.
*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.