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Instant Oatmeal - Is Instant Oatmeal good for you?

Updated on June 17, 2012
Red berry risotto oatmeal piled into a slightly eggy "Crispity Wafer Bowl," with a healthy dose of plump berries from Norma's, NY. Photo from http://newyork.seriouseats.com
Red berry risotto oatmeal piled into a slightly eggy "Crispity Wafer Bowl," with a healthy dose of plump berries from Norma's, NY. Photo from http://newyork.seriouseats.com

Instant Oatmeal - Is Instant Oatmeal good for you?

We all know that oatmeal is good for us. Right? So, I won't bore you about how good oatmeal is... and that if you eat more oatmeal, you can drastically improve the quality of your life.

I won't say that over 40 studies show that eating oatmeal may help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.

I won't say that the soluble fiber in oatmeal absorbs a considerable amount of water which significantly slows down your digestive process. This result is that you'll feel full longer... so oatmeal can help you control your weight.

I won't say that eating oatmeal may reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes, reduce high blood pressure, reduce risk for certain cancers.

I won't say that oatmeal contains a soluble fiber that gives volume to a diet, which improves the digestive process and avoids and alleviates constipation. Yes, we can be regular again! Isn't that fantastic? But I won't say it.

I won't say that oatmeal is good for your sex life. Oh no no no! I won't say that oatmeal is a good source of L-arginine, an amino acid that can facilitate the production of nitric oxide. And I won't definitely say that the effects of elevated nitric oxide can cause a part of the male anatomy to stand up and be counted without further stimulation. (Viagra is recommended if that part of the male anatomy needs further assistance.)

And of course, I won't say that oatmeal contains a wide array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and is a good source of protein, complex carbohydrates and iron.

So there, I didn't say a word about the goodness of oatmeal, but I sure wanted too.


"Never work before breakfast; if you have to work before breakfast, eat your breakfast first." - Josh Billings


Now the question is... Is Instant Oatmeal good for you?


What Is Instant Oatmeal?

Instant oatmeal is simply thinly rolled oats which are then cut into very small pieces and pre-cooked by steaming. The oatmeal is typically with added natural or unnatural flavorings, salt, sugar, and in some cases, preservatives. It comes in little 1 oz serving packets for convenience.

But of course, there are also regular flavor instant oatmeal, which doesn’t have all the sugar and preservatives added, although it will often contain some added salt.

The advantage of instant oatmeal over other forms of oatmeal like old fashioned oatmeal or oat groats, is cooking time. Thick cut or old fashioned rolled oats will typically take about 10 minutes to cook on the stove top (less in the microwave); while instant oatmeal - you just empty the packet in a microwave-safe bowl, add 2/3 cups water or milk, stir and microwave for 1-2 minutes and you're done.


Oatmeal from Prime Meats. Not quite the best in New York, but tasty just the same. [Photograph: Robyn Lee]
Oatmeal from Prime Meats. Not quite the best in New York, but tasty just the same. [Photograph: Robyn Lee]
Iris Cafe uses nice hunks of Saratoga apples that are cinnamon-spiked and soft, but still crisp covered with caramel sauce [Photo: Erin Zimmer]
Iris Cafe uses nice hunks of Saratoga apples that are cinnamon-spiked and soft, but still crisp covered with caramel sauce [Photo: Erin Zimmer]
Le Pain Quotidien's $5.50 oatmeal is a bit pricey, it's a simple, perfect bowl: thick, milky steel-cut oats with berries dotted on top. Photo from http://newyork.seriouseats.com
Le Pain Quotidien's $5.50 oatmeal is a bit pricey, it's a simple, perfect bowl: thick, milky steel-cut oats with berries dotted on top. Photo from http://newyork.seriouseats.com

Nutritional Value - Old Fashioned Slow Cooking Oatmeal vs. Instant Oatmeal

Surprisingly, if you go with the natural, unsweetened and unflavored variety of instant oatmeal, the basic nutritional values of instant oats are not all that different from slower cooking old fashioned oatmeal.

In a study done between 1 oz dry serving of Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal (the stuff that takes 10 minutes to cook) and 1 oz packet of Quaker Instant Oatmeal (regular flavor with no added sugar), it was found that aside from the higher sodium content, the regular Quaker Instant Oatmeal actually has a marginally better macro-nutrient profile.

Why is that?

Well, the Quaker Oatmeal has the addition of oat flour added to the packets, which increases the fiber and protein content slightly.  The higher calcium content is due to the addition of calcium carbonate to the mixture. Quaker also fortifies the instant oatmeal with a number of vitamins as well. 

Therefore, from a basic nutrition perspective, instant oatmeal is actually just as nutritious as old fashioned rolled oats.

Isn't that interesting?  

So, provided you go for the natural, unsweetened and unflavored variety of instant oatmeal, instant oatmeal is still a solid breakfast.  So if the convenience of instant oatmeal helps you eat more of this healthy food, then by all means... EET MORE OATMEAL!!!

It has to be noted, however, that the old-fashion slow cooking oatmeal is a great source of slow-digesting, complex carbohydrates. The more “whole” the grain, the slower the digestion. This helps keep blood sugar levels stable, prevents energy crashes and discourages you from feeling hungry later in the morning or day.  


Oatmeal with blueberries with a dash of cinnamon. Photo from Cooking Manager
Oatmeal with blueberries with a dash of cinnamon. Photo from Cooking Manager
The Breslin's oatmeal. [Photo: Carey Jones]
The Breslin's oatmeal. [Photo: Carey Jones]
Joseph Leonard'oatmeal, excellent, cooked with just enough milk and spread with apples caramelized so deeply they fall apart and dissolve. [Photo: Carey Jones]
Joseph Leonard'oatmeal, excellent, cooked with just enough milk and spread with apples caramelized so deeply they fall apart and dissolve. [Photo: Carey Jones]

Here's some ways to make instant oatmeal instantly more exciting:

  • Add fresh or frozen fruit. My favourite is sliced bananas! What is yours?
  • Add dried fruit such as raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, dates or sweetened shredded coconut.
  • Add chopped nuts like walnuts or sliced almonds.
  • Add a tablespoon or two of your favorite granola.
  • Add a dribble of pure delicious maple syrup. Oh, I love maple syrup.. try it!
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Never be afraid of more flavor.
  • Add a little dollop of yogurt. Flavored yogurts add taste and all yogurts add a smooth creamy texture.
  • Crush a little handful of your favorite dry breakfast cereal onto your oatmeal.
  • Stir in a couple teaspoons of your jam or fruit preserves and turn your oatmeal into a fruity fiesta bowl.

And for those special mornings that you just need a little more boost: add ice-cream, or whipped cream, or ice-cream AND whipped cream...it's heavenly delightful!

Or add chocolate chips, mini-marshmallows, butter and brown sugar, crumbled Coffee Crisp, M&M, chocolate or caramel syrup, apple pie, the list is endless.

ADD MORE TO THIS LIST!

EET MORE OATMEAL!!!

Comments

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  • Ruchi Urvashi profile image

    Ruchi Urvashi 5 years ago from Singapore

    Good ideas about oatmeal. I like oatmeal for breakfast. It is very filling and I enjoy eating it.

  • Rosie2010 profile image
    Author

    Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya sofs, thanks for dropping by. Now that I have lots of time in the morning, I should start cooking my oatmeal. Actually, I like it better too when I make it and you gave me a good idea about date syrup.. I use maple but I'll try to look for date syrup next time I'm doing my groceries.

    Have a nice day,

    Rosie

  • Rosie2010 profile image
    Author

    Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya Butch, thanks for dropping by. I'm glad you liked my hub. Did you really go a have some oatmeal? You should eat oatmeal everyday.. it might help your aches and pains.

    Have a nice day,

    Rosie

  • sofs profile image

    sofs 6 years ago

    Useful information, glad that I am never too lazy to cook up my oatmeal and make it taste different everyday. I add date syrup ( full of iron) to it at times and with bananas it is awesome, strawberries and cream once in while does add a little zing to it!

  • profile image

    Butch News 6 years ago

    Nice article. I've wondered about instant oatmeal but have been too lazy to research it. I'm a big boy and it would take a half dozen packets to satisfy me so, when I'm not being too lazy I just cook up some oats as it doesn't take that long to do. Which reminds me... haven't had any for a while and I've lots in the cupboard.

  • Rosie2010 profile image
    Author

    Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya Rhonda, thanks for reading my oatmeal hub. I think Twitter works. Instant oatmeal is as nutritious as regular oatmeal and much faster to prepare. Tweet Tweet

    Have a nice day gf,

    Rosie

  • Rhonda Waits profile image

    Rhonda Musch 6 years ago from The Emerald Coast

    I love instant oatmeal I always eat it. Great hub girl friend. Tweet Tweet.

  • Rosie2010 profile image
    Author

    Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya patdmania, thanks for dropping by. You love oatmeal too? ^5 Oatmeal is good for us. You get hungry faster eating instant oatmeal because the oat is cut and rolled into tiny pieces and that makes digestion faster than the regular slow-cook oatmeal. I like instant oatmeal too.. can't be bothered with the slow-cook one. lol

    Have a nice day,

    Rosie

  • patdmania profile image

    patdmania 6 years ago from waterford, mi

    I love instant oatmeal too. It is so easy. Helps get me going. However, it seems like i get hungry faster when i do eat it. Thanks Rosie. Good Hub!!!!

  • Rosie2010 profile image
    Author

    Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya my dear friend ladypatience, I'm glad you love oatmeal too.. it's really good for us. I can't be bothered with the regular oats.. am lazy.. so instant oatmeal for me. I always felt guilty tho', but now I know we get the same nutrients, regular or instant, I feel much better. Enjoy your oatmeal!

    Have a nice day,

    Rosie

  • ladypatience profile image

    ladypatience 6 years ago from Missouri

    I love instant oatmeal for when I'm pressed for time. I just bought a box last week. I also have the regular oats for when I don't mind waiting 10 minutes or so to eat. So either or is good for me. To each his own I say. Thanks for the article.

  • Rosie2010 profile image
    Author

    Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya Irohner, thanks so much for the help. I'm glad you like it.

    Have a nice day,

    Rosie

  • lrohner profile image

    lrohner 6 years ago from USA

    Nice job and very informative!

  • Rosie2010 profile image
    Author

    Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya my dear friend imatellmuva, thanks for dropping by. I'm glad I gave some ideas on how to serve oatmeal. And I'm also glad to hear you love oatmeal..me too! Enjoy your oatmeal!

    Have a nice day,

    Rosie

  • imatellmuva profile image

    imatellmuva 6 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore

    I love oatmeal Rosie2010! I had some leftover waffle bowls for icecream, when the nieces were over. It never dawned on me, that these would be perfect to serve oatmeal in. There are many great ideas here that I will certainly, certainly use (yes I meant to say it twice)!!

  • Rosie2010 profile image
    Author

    Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya my darling handsome cowboy Gets, lol I was really really tempted, but I had to stand firm to my promises. lol

    Have a nice day!

    Rosie

  • profile image

    Gets 6 years ago

    darlin' I sure am glad you avoided telling us about all the nutritonal values of Oatmeal. lolol