Consumer Reports

How to Make Sure Your Breakfast Oatmeal is Hearty and Healthy

NBCUniversal, Inc.

With the cooler mornings of fall and winter approaching, what better way to start the day than with a hot and nutritious breakfast? Oatmeal has been a favorite for years, and as Consumer Reports explains, it’s also one of the quickest, healthiest breakfasts you can make at home or on the go.

Breakfast doesn’t get much easier than a single-serve oatmeal cup. But to get the most nutrition, choose your oats carefully. 

Avoid instant oats. They’re made into thinner flakes and you digest them more quickly, which can cause spikes in your blood sugar levels. Stick to steel-cut or rolled oats instead.

Part of what makes some oatmeals taste so good can be lots of added sugars and artificial flavors.

In fact, nearly half of the oatmeal cups Consumer Reports looked at had between 2 and a half to 4 and a half teaspoons in a serving.  If you buy sweetened oatmeal, pick one with 8 grams or less of added sugars per serving. 

Some oatmeal cups Consumer Reports checked out pump up the protein and fiber with highly processed ingredients.

Check the label for “pea protein,” “soy protein isolate,” or “chicory root fiber.” Avoid those processed ingredients and pick products with whole-food sources of protein and fiber like nuts and seeds, grains like quinoa, or dried fruits.

To get the whole-grain benefit without all the sugar, Consumer Reports says to try Nature’s Path Organic Hot Oatmeal Maple Pecan. It’s made from rolled oats with pecans and chia seeds, with brown and maple sugar for sweetness. 

And Purely Elizabeth Superfood Oatmeal has no added sugars. It’s made with organic oats, flax and chia seeds, and amaranth. You can top it with a little fruit for sweetness.

Also, an oatmeal cup from RX A.M. has 12 grams of protein, mostly from egg whites and almonds, gets some sweetness from dates, and has no added sugars.

You can save money by making your own oatmeal cups at home in batches. There are lots of recipes online, but make sure to use rolled oats. Add some nuts, raisins, and dried apple, and you’ll have a version you can sweeten yourself to keep it more healthy.

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