Monday, February 28, 2011

How Healthy is that Oatmeal?

If you are an oatmeal lover, and usually buy them at fast food and coffee locations, this article is for you. Check out the nutrition facts of the dish (or snack, depending on the size) available in top fast food venues:

McDonald’s Fruit & Maple Oatmeal (9.2 ounces) delivers 290 calories, 4.5 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 160 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 5 g protein. It’s made with a combination of instant and slower-cooked oats.
Make it a little healthier and skip the brown sugar—you’ll save 30 calories and 45 mg of sodium.

Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal (about 8 ounces) has 140 calories, 2.5 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 105 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 5 g protein. It’s made with quick-cooking oats. Don’t want the plain variety? Add the Nut Medley—although it bumps the calories up to 240 (more than just adding the brown sugar and the same as adding the dried fruit) and the total and saturated fat to 11.5 g and 1.5 g, respectively (also more than the other toppings). The walnuts, pecans, and almonds deliver good-for-you fats and 2 extra grams of protein, but no unhealthy added sugars as the brown sugar and sweetened dried fruit do.

Au Bon Pain Oatmeal (8 ounces) delivers 170 calories, 3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 5 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 6 g protein. It’s available in three different sizes—a small is 8 ounces, a medium 12 and a large 16. Although the large delivers more calories (340) than any other chain-restaurant choice, it can still easily fit into a healthy diet.The Apple Cinnamon variety in the same 8-ounce size has an extra 20 calories, but all other nutrient amounts are the same.

Jamba Juice Plain Oatmeal with Brown Sugar (12 ounces) contains 220 calories, 3.5 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 20 mg sodium, 5 fiber, 8 g protein. The oatmeal serving is on the larger size (unless you order the medium at Au Bon Pain) compared to the others. Interestingly, the oatmeal is made with steel-cut oats and is the only one I found to be slow-cooked. The Fresh Banana Oatmeal is the flavor that adds the least amount of extra calories (12 ounces, 280 calories, 4 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 20 mg sodium, 6 g fiber, 9 g protein). Apple Cinnamon, Berry Cherry Pecan and Blueberry & Blackberry bump the calorie total to 290, 340 and 290, respectively—and increase sodium by a little bit in each.

Honestly, making a healthy and customized oatmeal at home, school or at the office is one of the easiest snacks to prepare. It only takes a few minutes, and you can vary with nuts, dry fruits, honey,...

Sources: Shine, and EatingWell

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