Shopping Guide

Instant Oatmeal for Total Health and Weight Loss

oatmeal

By Dana Leigh Smith

Getting something quickly just isn’t fast enough anymore. We’re a society that growls in frustration if a website takes too long to load. We want everything instantly.

And we’re not just short-fused when it comes to technology. We want our food to be ready in an instant, too. You know eating oatmeal for breakfast can help you lose weight more effectively than ready-to-eat cereals, but making it on the stove simply takes more time than you have to spare. Though instant oats may seem like an obvious time-saving solution, not all boxes are created equal. Many are laden with chemicals and stripped of nutrients for total health—not the wholesome breakfast you had in mind. But not all instant oats are unhealthy, you just have to know what to look for when selecting a box.

To save you time at the grocery store reading labels, we’ve done all the legwork for you. All of our instant oat picks below are low-sugar, free of scary chemicals and filled with nutrients that aid weight loss, like fiber and protein. Better yet, they’re all sure to please your taste buds.

Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free Instant Quinoa & Oat Hot Cereal

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Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free Instant Quinoa & Oat Hot Cereal, 1 packet

Calories

100

Fat

1.5 g

Saturated Fat

0 g

Sodium

0 mg

Carbs

19 g

Fiber

3 g

Sugar

<1g

Protein

4 g

Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free Instant Quinoa & Oat Hot Cereal

This may look like your average packet of oats, but it's worth a second glance. Made with oat flakes and quinoa—an ingredient not typically found in oats—this Arrowhead creation is the perfect blank canvas for just about any breakfast creation. Top it with honey, cinnamon and fruit if you’re in the mood for something sweet, or add a fried egg and a sprinkle of Parmesan if you’re craving something savory.

Quaker Organic Instant Oatmeal

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Quaker Organic Instant Oatmeal, 1 packet

Calories

100

Fat

2 g

Saturated Fat

0 g

Sodium

0 mg

Carbs

19 g

Fiber

3 g

Sugar

0 g

Protein

4 g

Quaker Organic Instant Oatmeal

If you’re looking for the healthiest classic packet of oats, this is it. While its nutrition label is nearly identical to its non-organic cousin, there's one key difference: it shuns caramel coloring. The lack of this additive, which has been shown to cause cancer in animals and is a possible carcinogen for humans, makes us immediate fans.

Kashi Heart to Heart Instant Oatmeal Golden Maple

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Kashi Heart to Heart Instant Oatmeal Golden Maple,1 packet

Calories

150

Fat

2 g

Saturated Fat

0 g

Sodium

95 mg

Carbs

32 g

Fiber

5 g

Sugar

10 g

Protein

5 g

Kashi Heart to Heart Instant Oatmeal Golden Maple

This rich and creamy offering has a just-sweet-enough maple flavor you’re sure to love. But that’s not all: One packet of the stuff provides a whopping 22 percent of the day’s fiber and five grams of satiating protein. That means a bowl of the stuff is sure to keep hunger at bay long after you’ve enjoyed your last spoonful.

Love Grown Foods Super Oats Chia and Quinoa Brown Sugar

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Love Grown Foods Super Oats Chia and Quinoa Brown Sugar, 1 packet

Calories

170

Fat

2.5 g

Saturated Fat

0 g

Sodium

30 mg

Carbs

32 g

Fiber

4 g

Sugar

10 g

Protein

5 g

Love Grown Foods Super Oats Chia and Quinoa Brown Sugar

Made with a hearty blend of oats, chia seeds, quinoa and amaranth flakes, Love Grown Foods’ creative, ancient grain-infused creation is one we can’t get enough of. The flavor is like a cookie fresh from the oven! This cozy, crowd-pleasing breakfast staple is sweet enough for kids but low enough in sugar for health-conscious adults—a welcome alternative to the cloying competition.

Pacific Foods Organic Steel-Cut Oatmeal Lightly Sweetened

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Pacific Foods Organic Steel-Cut Oatmeal Lightly Sweetened, 1 container,

Calories

180

Fat

2 g

Saturated Fat

0 g

Sodium

240 mg

Carbs

35 g

Fiber

3 g

Sugar

6 g

Protein

5 g

Pacific Foods Organic Steel-Cut Oatmeal Lightly Sweetened

Steel cut oats are higher in fiber and have a lower glycemic index than other oat varieties, which helps keep bellies full and satisfied hours after eating. While standard steel-cut oats take longer to cook than most other varieties, this pre-cooked, cane sugar-sweetened variety comes in a convenient grab-and-go box and is ready to eat in just minutes. Just pour it in a bowl, zap it and eat it as is—there’s no need to add water. Busy mornings, you’ve met your match!

ThinkThin Single Serve Oatmeal Madagascar Vanilla Almonds Pecans

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ThinkThin Single Serve Oatmeal Madagascar Vanilla Almonds Pecans, 1 container

Calories

190

Fat

3.5 g

Saturated Fat

0 g

Sodium

135 mg

Carbs

31 mg

Fiber

5 g

Sugar

9 g

Protein

10 g

ThinkThin Single Serve Oatmeal Madagascar Vanilla Almonds Pecans

This thick and rich container of oats features red quinoa and two varieties of oats (steel cut and whole rolled), which give it a great texture. To up the protein and crunch factor, ThinkThin added a sprinkling of almonds and pecans and topped off their creation with crushed Madagascar vanilla beans for a hint of sweetness. With such a mouthwatering flavor profile, it’s hard to believe a serving only carries nine grams of sugar.

Nature's Path Organic Instant Hot Oatmeal Apple Cinnamon

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Nature's Path Organic Instant Hot Oatmeal Apple Cinnamon,1 packet

Calories

210

Fat

2.5 g

Saturated Fat

0 g

Sodium

100 mg

Carbs

40 g

Fiber

4 g

Sugar

14 g

Protein

5 g

Nature's Path Organic Instant Hot Oatmeal Apple Cinnamon

Thanks to a generous serving of tart, tender apples and sprinkling of sweet cinnamon, this hearty packet of oats is sure to become an instant classic in your kitchen. To amp up its flavor profile even further—without adding excess calories—top off a bowl of the stuff with a fresh dusting of nutmeg and cinnamon, a spice shown to control blood sugar levels and ward off diabetes.

Straw Propeller Gourmet Foods Oatmeal Cereal Cherry & Chia

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Straw Propeller Gourmet Foods Oatmeal Cereal Cherry & Chia, 1 container

Calories

230

Fat

4 g

Saturated Fat

0 g

Carbs

48 g

Fiber

6 g

Sugar

14 g

Protein

9 g

Straw Propeller Gourmet Foods Oatmeal Cereal Cherry & Chia

If you know you have a long morning ahead, Straw Propeller’s chia- and fruit-infused oats should be your go-to. The calorie and carb counts are higher than the competition, but these containers also pack twice the oats. The most impressive part: Despite the generous serving size, they still manage to keep the sugar count low despite the large serving size and addition of cherries and cane juice. Pick up a container at Whole Foods or Target.


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