Did You Know?January is titled as the National Oatmeal Month, and more oatmeal is consumed during this month than any other time of the year. This may be because hot cereal is preferred during this cold winter month!
Oatmeal is touted to be among the healthiest breakfasts you can have, and is considered to be the ideal food to start the day. While nothing beats the slow cooking, old-fashioned or steel-cut oats, our busy schedule leaves us scrambling for the instant variety. Instant oatmeal cooks in a matter of 1 to 2 minutes, owing to the fact that they have been finely cut.
High in soluble fiber, vitamins, cholesterol-lowering compounds, etc., this quick and healthy option comes in different varieties. Today, we've got oatmeal in all kinds of flavors, right from those including cinnamon, etc., to those with dark chocolate, etc. However, most of these flavored kinds are packed with sugar, artificial flavorings, and preservatives. So, we're going to stick to the regular or classic version.
Must-try Instant Oatmeal Brands
While most of these oatmeal brands offer an array of flavors and various other options, in this Buzzle article, we're only considering their plain or classic type to have a common base for comparison.
Their classic instant oatmeal version is made from whole grain rolled oats and flaxseed, thus, furnishing our body with the necessary omega fatty acids, besides the high fiber of oats. Moreover, since it contains no added sugar, it makes for an ideal hot cereal to start the day. In terms of flavor and texture, most palates find it delicious with a rich oatmeal flavor and a texture that is not too thick or runny.
Introduced in just 2010, this oatmeal brand has climbed the ladder of success really soon. They've been titled as the #1 breakfast choice by Dr. Oz. They've also introduced their new 'steel cut instant oatmeal' version, which takes only 2½ minutes to cook. This version aims to provide the flavor and texture of slow-cooked, steel-cut oats in shorter time. Supermarket Guru, Phil Lempert touts their latest endeavor as a 'hit'! The only drawback of this brand is its high sodium content, and that it's not certified as organic (some of its cereals are).
What's interesting about this brand is its environment-friendly packaging. Unlike other brands, it uses lesser packaging, thereby, wasting less packaging material. Moreover, lesser packing means lesser space to store the same oats. Their little instant packets also double as measuring pouches (comes with a fill line), making things even more convenient.
This is one of the most popular oat brands across the globe. Being the first breakfast cereal to be registered in 1877, QUAKER oats is popularly recognized by its white-haired mascot. Made from 100% whole grain rolled oats, their regular instant oatmeal is high in soluble fiber, free from pesticides and chemical additives, and above all, contains no added salt or sugar. It also comes in the organic kind, which deems it even more healthier for consumption. However, their original version doesn't contain flaxseeds.
Besides being high in soluble fiber, according to the information from their website, this brand is also high in calcium, iron, and various vitamins and minerals. So, QUAKER oats ranks high in the health quotient. In terms of flavor, its nearly perfect toasty flavor and not mushy or runny consistency make it a favored breakfast brand in many households across the country. This legendary brand offers a wide array of hot cereal varieties with oatmeal variations for weight loss enthusiasts, health-conscious people, kids, etc.
: Quaker has come up with a 'dino eggs' instant oatmeal version, which is marketed to attract children. It comes with little eggs that melt to reveal colored dinosaurs. However, you have to take into consideration the artificial flavoring and coloring you're letting your children ingest just to finish their bowl of oatmeal.
Made from whole grain, steel-cut organic rolled oats, this oatmeal brand is certified organic and is free from unwanted pesticides and chemicals. This brand offers a classic version with 'no added sugars' clearly showcased on the label. However, what's not mentioned in bold is the amount of sodium, which must also be taken into consideration. Although their website does mention that their instant oatmeal is 'low sodium', other brands are offering the same cereal with 0 mg sodium. In terms of flavor, they are fluffy and thick, but may be a little too thick for certain palates.
Then there's the 'flax plus' version, which is a blend of rolled oats and flaxseeds. On the packaging, you'll find a bold claim of '350 mg OMEGA 3', which clearly touts the presence of flaxseeds and the health benefits accompanied by it. However, this variation does contain a large amount of sodium and even sugar (organic evaporated cane juice) for that matter, as compared to similar brands.
: The brand is looking into its sodium issue, and even invites consumers to write to them if they find their oatmeal too salty.
Again made from 100% whole grain rolled oats, this oatmeal brand is high in soluble fibers and is also free from sodium. However, it does contain a small amount of sugar in its original version. So, that's something to look out for. In terms of texture and flavor, most palates find it nice and smooth; however, for some, the smoothness more or less tends to the mushy end. Nevertheless, it has a lovely oat-like flavor. According to their website, this organic brand follows the USDA organic certification guidelines strictly, thus, making them a brand we can trust.
: The brand doesn't offer a plethora of variations and sticks to the simple apple cinnamon flavor and a maple-spiced version, but with scores of flavors flooding the market shelves, simplicity stands out.
This classic instant oatmeal breakfast brand is 100% organic; thus, it is free from pesticides and other synthetic chemicals. Made from steel-cut oats, this hot cereal is low in additives and higher in nutritional content. Their organic original version contains 0 mg sugar and salt, which is a big plus point. Then they also have the flax version, which includes the added benefits of flaxseeds and furnishes the body with the required omega-3 fatty acids. Even though flax is added to oats, the flavor tastes great, making it an excellent 2-minute breakfast option.
: Their flax version contains sugar and sodium, so check the labels carefully.
While choosing your oatmeal brand, take a look at the ingredient list. The simpler the list, it's most likely the better it will be. Having said this, this is not a universal rule, and there are various good brands out there that like to specify every detail, so keep your eyes open and peruse through the ingredient list. A brand with low sugar (preferably zero) and sodium content, and no artificial sweeteners and flavorings should be the one you pick.