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All About Oatmeal

by Margaret Moses, MBA, Registered Dietitian

Instant oatmeal is filling, fast, and has plenty of flavor variations to try — but not all of them live up to oatmeal’s healthy reputation. Here’s my advice to keep this quick breakfast a healthy one:

Know your fiber – Some oatmeals use guar gum to inflate their fiber number. Guar gum is a safe ingredient, but be aware that it only has soluble fiber, not both.

Be a sodium sleuth – If you’re eating a whole-grain breakfast with your health in mind, double check the sodium. Even if your bowl doesn’t taste salty, some flavored instant oatmeals have more than 300 mg/serving.

DIY sugar – Keep added sugar in check by picking a plain or unsweetened variety and adding 1 – 2 teaspoons of your own sweetener; also, check “lower sugar” labels as some manufacturers swap in sucralose, a non-nutritive sweetener, for sugar.

My favorite instant oatmeals include Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oatmeal, Classic or Blueberry and Hazelnut; 365 Organic Instant Oatmeal, Original; Trader Joe’s Complete Oatmeal; Kashi GoLean Hearty Oatmeal, Honey and Cinnamon. Look for these varieties the next time you find yourself at the grocery store!