Just add water? Could a healthy breakfast really be that simple? It sounds like magic!
It’s not magic. It’s oats.
Not only is a bowl of oatmeal delicious and heart-healthy, but it’s packed with soluble fiber, protein, and hearty vitamins.
Instant oatmeal is a convenient, fast-cooking option for those who love a quick, delicious start to their morning. But how does instant oatmeal compare to regular oats in the health department?
Read on to learn all about how a bowl of instant oatmeal stacks up to traditional oats and why you should consider a delicious instant oatmeal cup for your next speedy breakfast.
What is Instant Oatmeal?
To talk about instant oatmeal, first, we have to understand oats.
Oats are refined from groats — the fibrous, whole grain crop that retains the chaff and bran. While groats certainly offer their own tasty charm, they’re very tough and don’t exactly make for a speedy breakfast.
There are three main processes by which oats are refined, resulting in varying levels of softness:
- Steel-cut oats: Oat groats cut into bite-size pieces.
- Rolled oats: Oat groats that have been steamed and rolled.
- Quick-cooking oats (aka instant oats): Rolled thinner than traditional rolled oats and cut into smaller pieces for convenient cooking.
Oats are one of the healthiest grains out there, and one of the few that’s naturally gluten-free. They’re high in soluble fiber which increases satiety and cuts down on bad cholesterol.
Pair all of their health benefits with superfood toppings and you’ve got one of the best breakfast and snack options out there.
Yeah — we’re kind of in love with oats.
Is Instant Oatmeal Good for You?
One of the questions some breakfast eaters have with instant oatmeal is regarding its fiber content — does the thinner nature of instant oats provide less fiber to your body?
Luckily, instant oatmeal provides the exact same fiber to your digestive system as slow-cooked oatmeal. If you’d like to increase the fiber content in your bowl of morning oatmeal, reach for a handful of roasted chickpeas, crunchy almonds, or creamy walnuts!
What To Watch Out For With Instant Oatmeal
The main problem that comes with instant oatmeal is in the processing — how are the oats being cooked, prepared, and served? As you can guess, piling a mountain of sugar on a healthy bowl of oats tips the scales into unhealthy territory.
Many instant oatmeal brands (pictured below) stuff their oatmeal with added sugar and sodium to maximize their flavor profile, making their nutrition content comparable to a bowl of sugary cereal.
For example, Straw Propeller’s instant oatmeal contains over 20 grams of sugar, which is more than a large chocolate chip cookie! Meanwhile, Bob’s Red Mill Brown Sugar and Maple is swimming in sodium at 310mg per serving, equivalent to 15 brine-soaked green olives.
This totally defeats the purpose of the health benefits that come with a bowl of delicious, all-natural oats. Instead, look for a brand that values nutrition on par with the natural, nutty flavors that come from a bowl of instant oatmeal.
How to Pick the Best Instant Oatmeal
Here are some nutritional pointers to look out for when shopping for your next batch of instant oatmeal. Per oatmeal serving, you should aim to eat...
- Five grams or less of added sugar
- Less than 110 mg of sodium
- At least 5 grams of fiber
Spoiler alert — there aren’t many instant oatmeal brands that can meet these qualifications and still taste delicious.
Well, one does. Maybe you should check it out.
Make Your Instant Oatmeal Even Healthier
So, we’ve established that the right brand of instant oatmeal can be pretty dang healthy. But what if you’re an overachiever?
What if you want to go above and beyond for breakfast? What if you want to dominate healthy eating without sacrificing an ounce of whole-grain flavor?
No sweat. We’ve got you covered.
If you’re looking for a juicy boost in your bowl, add a batch of fresh fruit like strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries. If you’re in the mood for a bit of crunch, throw in some lean proteins and fats like sliced almonds, chia seeds, or even a dollop of Greek yogurt.
Finish it off with a drizzle of maple syrup or honey for good measure.
Congratulations. You are hereby certified in crafting a decked-out, delicious, guilt-free breakfast.
Just remember to thank our delicious oatmeal for putting in the leg work.
Eat Healthy Every Day with Mylk Labs
So… is instant oatmeal healthy?
Well, you might not like the answer, but it depends.
While great instant oatmeal provides all of the same health benefits of traditional oatmeal (and tastes amazing), the wrong instant oatmeal brand can transform your breakfast into a syrupy dessert, priming you for an untimely sugar crash just as you’re starting your day.
Our five unique flavors are designed from a health-first mindset, made with simple, sustainable ingredients that you can pronounce and taste absolutely delicious.
While each bite is mouthwatering enough on its own, feel free to look through our blog for dozens of ways to pair our instant oatmeal with crunchy nuts, succulent fruit, and creamy yogurt for a nutritious feast to help you take on whatever the day has in store.