Instant Oatmeal - Is Instant Oatmeal good for you?
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.
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.
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!!!