When Oatmeal Isn’t a Healthy Choice

Originally published on Prevention.com as part of the article 10 So-Called “Healthy”Foods That Aren’t in December 2012.

Flavored instant oatmeal can be high in sugar and sodium, says Krista Kohls, RD, at Meriter Hospital, “Added sugar increases the number of empty calories and provides no nutritional benefit from vitamins or minerals.”

Swap it for whole rolled or steel cut oats. These don’t have any added salt or sugar because they’re in their whole form, says Kohls. An old-fashioned whole oat is the entire grain minus its tough outer shell. Steel cut oats are cut pieces from the inner part of the oat kernel. “Both have the same amount of fiber per serving and are a good source of protein without all that sugar,” she says. If you want to add some flavor, go for fresh fruit or a small amount of honey.

Eat this… ½ cup whole rolled oats: 80 calories, 1.5 g fat, 5 mg sodium, 0 g sugar
Not that… Flavored oatmeal packet: about 150 calories, 2-3 g fat, 200 mg sodium

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