A few months back, I added a new healthy habit of eating oatmeal for breakfast. Since I stopped eating breakfast daily when I was in first grade, along with the fact that I have never liked to eat oatmeal, this has been a real challenge.
Thankfully, I have found some oatmeal that I don’t abhor. The following is my feedback, which may differ from your experience or preferences. If you have tried any of these or have found the perfect oatmeal, please share!
Of the instant oatmeal that I tried, I really like the Full Circle Market Organic. Texturally and flavorfully, I don’t mind eating it. I tested the Maple and Spice flavor, which adds just enough sweetness to enhance the flavor.
BetterOats, Oat Revolution!, steel cut instant oats, however, is texturally a bust for me. It comes in tiny, chopped pieces. It takes a bit longer to cook and feels like pencil shavings in my mouth. The flavor is fine, but the texture ruins it for me. However, it does have flaxseed added, so I don’t plan to count it out altogether. It will continue to be part of my oatmeal line-up.
Another winner in this category is McCanns Instant Irish Oatmeal. I like the apples and cinnamon flavor. I have eaten McCanns steel cut oatmeal in the past and did not know they made instant. I purchased this at Central Market, but it is also available on Amazon.com. The texture and the flavor are spot on. Not too gummy nor too firm to the tooth. It is actually my favorite instant oatmeal.
Sam’s Instant Oatmeal, in the creamy strawberry flavor, is also a product I would eat again. Both the flavor and texture were pleasing. It is also readily available at Walmart, so that makes it convenient for those of us in small towns.
Then there is Quaker Instant Oatmeal. This is what I grew up with in the house. It always reminded me of wet cardboard with flavoring. Too be fair, I included it in my taste test. That was many years ago, and things could have changed. I tried the banana bread flavor, which smelled amazing. The texture was pasty, but the flavor was fine.
Of the cooked oatmeal, I tried Quaker Old-Fashioned and McCanns.
I have had both of these products before, and they both were fine. They were part of my I-hate-oatmeal days. In hindsight, I was not adding any flavoring (cinnamon, vanilla, fresh fruit, dried fruit, milk, etc.) or sweetener (brown sugar, honey, agave, etc.), so I kind of set myself up for failure.
As for Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats that cook in 5 minutes, they are manageable with lots of flavoring added. To me, the key is to add flavors that make it bearable to eat. The same with McManns Steel Cut Oats. Again, the steel cut oats texture is a bit more crunchy/chewy, but with good flavors added, it becomes edible.
On all of the taste-tests, I prepared the oatmeal with water for consistency. Of course, adding milk may have improved the flavor and or texture, but it will also add calories. However, if you need a food serving of dairy, this would be a good way to get it in.
I try to stay clear of any artificial sweeteners. These days, that has become almost impossible. Sadly, some of the instant varieties include sweeteners that I prefer not to eat. If you, too, are trying to stay all-natural, then be sure to read the box before you buy any instant oatmeal.
For me, I am still not carried away with any oatmeal I tested, but none will be totally banned from my pantry. Overall, I don’t think that I am a fan of the steel cut oats. The great news is that there are so many brands and flavors available that there are sure to be a few we can manage to consume daily.
What are your favorite brands and flavors of oatmeal? Do you eat oatmeal daily? Do you have an oatmeal bar (like a coffee bar with all the oatmeal fixings, something I am considering)? What do you add to your oatmeal to make it tasty?