Instant Oatmeal Isn't As Healthy As You Think. Here's Why

If you've ever tried to make some healthy changes to your diet only to be very unpleasantly surprised by supposedly-healthy nutrition labels once you look closer, then you are certainly not alone. There are tons of items in grocery stores that are marketed as healthy, but are actually far from it. Instant oatmeal can be one of these items. 

It is so much easier to rely on oatmeal that can simply be microwaved with the addition of water or milk, but many pre-packaged instant oatmeals are full of sugar (via The Daily Mail). Oatmeal can be very heart-healthy thanks to its soluble fiber, but when there's tons of added sugar, you may be cancelling out the health benefits. The best option is to prepare your own oatmeal at home with whatever toppings you want, or even an egg for added protein, so you know exactly what you're eating. However, some instant oatmeals are acceptable.

Which kinds of instant oatmeals to avoid

According to Eat This, Not That, you should steer clear of Quaker Instant Oatmeal Original and opt for Nature's Path Organic Original Hot Oatmeal. Quaker doesn't have as much fiber and it also includes an artificial color, which the publication deemed unnecessary. The Quaker kind also has half the protein and a lot more sodium than Nature's Path instant oatmeal.

If you're looking for high protein options, then Eat This suggests thinkThin Farmer's Market Berry Crumble Oatmeal Single Serving Bowl instead of Nature Valley Mixed Berry Crunch Protein Oatmeal. ThinkThin's oatmeal packs more protein per serving and less sugar. That means you'll get more beneficial nutrients without eating more calories or sugar. 

Finally, stay away from Simple Truth Organic Natural Maple & Brown Sugar Flavored Instant Oatmeal. Most organic oatmeals are pretty good when it comes to nutrition, but this one is an exception. The oatmeal is made with quality oats, but the second ingredient is dried organic cane syrup. That means there's a lot of it — 4 teaspoons per serving. So, skip this one too and make sure to read all labels carefully before tossing instant oatmeal into your shopping cart (via Livestrong).