Instant Oatmeal Can Be Healthy Too!

By Nicole German (RD, LD)

2804-goog-food-made-simple-oatmeal.jpgDon’t have time to make slow cooking oatmeal?

You can choose the instant oatmeal packets if you shop smart.

I have compiled a list of healthy instant oatmeal brands so that you can be prepared for a quick, healthy breakfast.

Lower Sugar Oatmeal Brands

  1. Kashi Creamy Truly Vanilla: Contains 6 g sugar, 7 g fiber, and 9 g protein (see image below)
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  3. Nature’s Path Hemp Plus: Hemp contains plenty of omega 3 healthy fats
  4. Better Oats Chai Spiced Flavor: The lowest sugar (8 g) variety of this natural oatmeal brand.
  5. Glutenfreeda Instant Oatmeal: Good for those avoiding gluten, and is all natural. Does contain a little more sugar (8 or 9 g per packet), but some of that comes from dried fruits.
  6. Trader Joe’s Frozen Steel Cut Oatmeal: This isn’t exactly instant, but it’s instantly microwavable.
  7. Quaker Weight Control Oatmeal: This brand ranks last place because it contains artificial sweeteners. But, the nutrition facts aren’t bad.
  8. Good Foods Made Simple: All natural ingredients and heats in two minutes.

Isn’t Instant Nutritionally Inferior?

Oats are still oats. The difference is in how the oats are processed. Instant and slow cooking do contain the same nutritional benefits, but the instant is processed faster in the body because it is already partially broken down.

This means that instant oats have a higher glycemic index. So, it would be better for diabetics, or those watching their weight to choose slow cooking, or see the tips listed below!

Quick Tips

  • Add some protein like nuts or a brown rice protein powder to that oatmeal to slow the glycemic response in the body. This will help balance the meal and balance your energy levels through the morning.
  • Make slow cooking oatmeal in bulk ahead of time. Keep it in the refrigerator, and then reheat for 1 minute as needed at breakfast.
  • Use a slow cooker at night. Set up your oatmeal, and it will be ready in the morning.
  • Buy a high quality plain instant oatmeal, and add your own sweetener like stevia and fruit.

Do you eat oatmeal in the morning? If so, how do you like yours?


  1. Mikey

    I buy the Quaker Instan Oatmeal Maple Brown Sugar high fiber and Apple. Now here’s the trick. Take a strainer and plop your packet of oatmeal in there. Shake it rigorously sifting out all that bleachy sugar crap….you’ll be surprised how much sugar is in there. Then add hot water or mik and just add splenda, honey, fruit, flax seed, or whatever else you may like to give it a more natural sweet kick. Instant Oatmeal is not bad if you just do this step.

    • ted

      Why wouldn’t you save money and just buy plain instant oatmeal? Sounds wasteful to me.

  2. Moshfiqul Bari

    This blog post is excellent because oatmeal is often taken for granted by most people. They should be reminded that:
    – Oatmeal can help you lower cholesterol.
    – Oatmeal has antioxidants that can help curb your body’s inflammation.
    – Oatmeal is beneficial to those who are suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.
    – Oatmeal now comes in a variety of food products and flavors, not just your plain ordinary ones.
    – And of course, oatmeal is good for your heart, enough said.

    • David W

      There is a LOT of evidence that contradicts your claim that oatmeal is beneficial to those with diabetes (like me), and thousands of individual diabetics can back that up form personal experience. Please don’t mislead people.

      • Ithaca

        I thought that oatmeal without the processing (steelcut) and without ANY added sweeteners or high GI fruits was in fact healthy for us. Can you post a link to a study which says diabetics should not eat such steelcut oatmeal? Thanks (just getting educated with a pre-diabetes diagnosis). I do see that in a lot of the comments, people report how they eat oatmeal and are not doing themselves good nutritional justice (added sugars, for example).

        • Barb

          I’m a diabetic and there’s nothing wrong with eating instant oatmeal. It’s high in fibre which slows the digestion of the oats so glycemically there’s no reason not to eat it. I eat only the plain instant oatmeal without the sugar, fruit and other junk that’s in the flavored stuff. I just add my own spices (cinnamon and nutmeg) some walnut pieces and a few raisins. I eat two packets every morning with 1 percent milk.

  3. Jose Ward

    Oatmeal is for sure the best breakfast source. Its healthy and it keeps you going all throughout the morning as it keeps you full for long. Plus its great to mix some fruit with me!

    Nice and short post! Keep up the work.

  4. Linda

    The best breakfast-love my oatmeal. A little drizzle of maple syrup and a grating of nutmeg and my day is off to a great start.

  5. Spectra

    I eat it a lot, but I’m too cheap to buy the packets. I buy the big container of quick cooking oats to take with me to work. I put them into baggies and take a bowl with me to work. I generally use a packet of Sugar in the Raw to sweeten it and it’s pretty good.

    • Barb

      The packets are quicker cooking that the oatmeal in big containers. It can be made in a microwave. The kind you’re using takes longer to cook and messes up a pot.

  6. T. Kallmyer

    Steel cut oatmeal takes about 30 minutess to cook, but I guarantee once you try it, you’ll never go back to rolled oats again. Better flavor, better texture. That’s the type that Nicole was saying could be made ahead of time and eaten throughout the week.

    • Barb

      That’s ok if you like hanging around the kitchen on a work day. Steel cut oats made me late for work. Too much trouble. Use the faster kind. I agree it tastes better but time matters too.

  7. Dan

    I eat oatmeal everyday combined with ground flaxseed, brown sugar, blackstrap molasses, and peanut butter. I like the texture of the slow cook type better than the quick oats. When I pour boiling water over the oats, they take no time to cook. Anyway, I don’t like very soft oats.

  8. Benjamin Raucher

    Yes but the slow cook tastes so much better

    Benjamin Raucher

  9. Kajsa

    seriously, it takes like 5 minutes to make an oatmeal. How are you spending all the you try to save…? Or do you have other types of oats that takes longer to cook than we in Sweden?

    Anyway I prefer mine with some vanilla sugar, lots of cinnamon plus a little splash of milk!

    • pamelajohn

      Thus the oatmeal is healthy to use, I am lover of oatmeal but I just left it because of my weight, I listen its gain weight and belly. Oatmeal is basically good source of nutrition and protein specially for lean and weak peoples to have some energy.

      • John

        I eat the instant oatmeal and add nuts and raisins and bananas.
        I put everything in the pot and cook it all together. It’s sweet without adding any additional sugar. Very good.