Although I’ve never been much for oatmeal (it always reminds me of Goldilocks eating porridge just before the three bears come home), rolled oats happen to be a very convenient, economical option for a quick breakfast without filling up on a bellyful of preservatives. In a grocery store filled with sugary cereals, highly processed breakfast bars, chocolate milk, and “imitation” pancake syrup in which the main ingredient is, well, high fructose corn syrup, it can be daunting to think of easy breakfast options. Even toasted “whole wheat bread” (check out the amount of ingredients here… seriously?) with “butter” can be questionable. Thankfully, there is but one ingredient in a 16 oz. tub of whole wheat quick oats, and that is 100% whole grain rolled oats. Whew! Highly processed breakfast catastrophe avoided! Not only that, but 11 servings of rolled oats is several dollars cheaper and will last a lot longer than those breakfast bars that come six in a box. And let’s face it, those bars never fill us up anyway.
I do want to issue a word of caution. When buying oatmeal, make sure that you’re not lured by those cute little individual packages of flavored instant oatmeal. Not all oatmeal is considered equal on the whole food spectrum. Let’s take a look at a very popular brand of flavored oatmeal. There are many flavors to choose from, but for comparison’s sake I’ve chosen to highlight the peaches and cream flavor. Seems innocent enough, right? Hardly.
Quaker Instant Oatmeal Peaches & Cream Ingredients: WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, SUGAR, CREAMING AGENT (MALTODEXTRIN, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL**, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, WHEY, SODIUM CASEINATE, SUGAR, DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, ARTIFICIAL COLOR, SALT, SOY LECITHIN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR), FLAVORED AND COLORED FRUIT PIECES (DEHYDRATED APPLES [TREATED WITH SODIUM SULFITE TO PROMOTE COLOR RETENTION], ARTIFICIAL PEACH FLAVOR, CITRIC ACID, ANNATTO COLOR), SALT, CALCIUM CARBONATE, GUAR GUM, OAT FLOUR, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, NIACINAMIDE*, REDUCED IRON, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE*, RIBOFLAVIN*, THIAMIN MONONITRATE*, FOLIC ACID*. (emphasis my own)
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw how many artificial ingredients and the amount of sugar that are in this oatmeal. The worst part? It’s marketed as a healthy choice for breakfast! I’m sorry, it might just be me, but I don’t think the fact it’s “made with heart healthy 100% whole grain Quaker Oats” and is a “good source of iron, calcium, and 7 other essential vitamins and minerals” outweighs the potential health risks the other ingredients are likely to cause. Especially when as a trade-off you can make your own peach flavored oatmeal from whole, unprocessed ingredients in under 5 minutes flat. All without subjecting yourself to potentially harmful additives. I promise you, making oatmeal yourself is super easy and very quick, even when you’re trying to get out the door for work.
- 1/2 cup 100% whole grain quick oats
- 1 cup water
- 1 peach, sliced
- 1 tsp organic butter
- Bring water to simmer in small saucepan.
- Stir in oats.
- Cook about 1 minute over medium high heat, stirring so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. I like my oatmeal thick, so I tend to let it cook a little longer than one minute. The longer it cooks the thicker it gets.
- Add butter, peaches, and a dash of cinnamon oatmeal. Stir.
(recipe my own)
The peaches were sweet enough for me that I didn’t need to add any honey for extra sweetness. You could certainly do so, but I wouldn’t add much. Maybe half a teaspoon. The cinnamon and butter blend to give it that warm, comforting flavor that I simply love.
I had some extra figs this time from the farmer’s market, so I tossed a few in as a variation. Oatmeal is a blank slate, so feel free to add your favorite fruit or spices! When you’re craving something else to go along with your Cinnamon Peach Oatmeal, be sure to stop by my Breakfast section for more whole food options.
Foodistas, what do you like to add to your oatmeal? Leave your ideas in the comment box below. I love hearing from you!