Is Instant Oatmeal Healthy? Here’s You need to know in 2024

Instant Oatmeal

Instant oats stand out as the most processed option when it comes to oatmeal choices. They are thinner, precooked, and the quickest to prepare. 

Typically, manufacturers preportion and package them with extra flavors and sweets. Oat groats, a nutrient- and fiber-rich whole grain with only the husk removed, derive all oats. The process produces instant oatmeal by chopping oat groats into small pieces, heating them, and rolling them into thin flakes.

This procedure removes only a small amount of nutrition. Sometimes, manufacturers package instant oats in individual servings and add additives like artificial flavors, milk powder, and sweeteners, which may hinder your health goals.

Because instant oats are thinner and cooked at a higher temperature than quick oats, they cook faster. When cooked, they have a softer, mushier texture than other varieties of oats.

 Benefits of instant oatmeal?

Instant oatmeal, like rolled and steel-cut oats, is a nutrient-dense whole grain that offers numerous health advantages.

Instant oats contain carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They also provide a healthy source of protein and fat.

Regularly consuming oatmeal has been linked to a wide range of health benefits. Some studies have linked oatmeal consumption to lower cholesterol levels, improved blood pressure and blood sugar management, and decreased inflammation.

Oatmeal’s fiber may help alleviate constipation, promote regular bowel movements, and improve stool consistency. It may also result in a healthy gut microbiota.

Finally, instant oatmeal is relatively inexpensive. Instant oats often cost less than $0.30 per serving, depending on brand, taste, and quantity. Bulk purchases allow you to save even more money.

And if you buy in bulk, you won’t have to worry about the oatmeal spoiling rapidly or losing its nutritional content. Instant oats are a shelf-stable product that can last for 1-2 years without refrigeration.

How do you prepare instant oats?

The precooked nature of instant oatmeal enables it to be enjoyed cold or heated up rapidly for a speedy meal choice.

The simplest and most basic way to prepare instant oatmeal is to just add hot water or milk and mix. Alternatively, add cold water or milk and heat the mixture in the microwave. In 1-2 minutes, your oatmeal will be ready for consumption.

In comparison, rolled oats take 5–10 minutes to cook on the stovetop, whereas steel-cut oats take 20–30 minutes.

Instant oatmeal is an extremely versatile ingredient. The mild-flavored food can be served salty or sweet.

You may also put them in smoothies and baked goods, or use them as a gluten-free substitute for breadcrumbs in meals that need a binder or thickener, such as meatloaf, burgers, and soup.

What are the nutritional facts for instant oats?

Below, you will find a comparison of the nutritional information for various popular types of instant oats.

Instant oats, Plain (1 oz/28g)Instant oats, maple and brown sugar (1.5 oz/43 g)Instant oats, cinnamon and spice (1.5 oz/43 g)
Carbohydrates19.5 g33 g34.2 g
Protein3.3 g3.98 g4.29 g
Fat1.93 g2.03 g2.18 g
Fiber2.8 g3.1 g3.6 g
Added Sugar0.42 g13 g11.4 g
Calcium98.3 mg111 mg105 mg
Iron6.92 mg4.47 mg3.81 mg
Magnesium35.8 mg3.87 mg41.4 mg
Phosphorus118 mg131 mg145 mg
Potassium102 mg155 mg128 mg
Sodium61.6 mg217 mg195 mg

Is there any drawback to instant oatmeal?

Plain, unflavored quick oatmeal and normal oatmeal are nutritionally equal. While instant oatmeal provides the same health advantages as normal oatmeal, many instant oatmeal packets have additional flavors and sweeteners.

Some types and varieties may include anywhere between 10 and 17 grams of added sugar. If you’re concerned about additional sugars, try a low-sugar variety or plain oats with your own toppings for flavor.
When compared to alternative instant breakfast cereals, instant oatmeal has the ability to provide a greater sense of fullness and keep you feeling satisfied for an extended period of time.

However, instant oatmeal may not be sufficiently filling or fulfilling on its own. Adding protein and fat might keep you satisfied until your next meal or snack.

For example, you may add fruit, nut butter, nuts, chocolate, or avocado. Elevate the taste of your dinner by including sautéed vegetables, aromatics, herbs, cheese, olive oil, or a fried egg as additional ingredients.

If a recipe calls for rolled or steel-cut oats, quick oatmeal may work as a substitute, but not always. Instant oatmeal, which is significantly thinner and cooks faster than other varieties of oats, may alter the texture or consistency of the food when cooked or baked.

The bottom line

Instant oatmeal provides a cost-effective and nutrient-rich option that allows for quick and effortless preparation.

It provides advantages for cardiovascular health, digestion, and arterial function, while also offering convenience and adaptability.

While some packaged instant oatmeal options contain additional sugars and flavorings, they can still be part of a balanced diet.

If you’re concerned about the additives, you may always use plain instant oatmeal and top it with your favorite toppings.

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