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The Worst Way To Eat Oatmeal Ever.

If I was forced to stop at McDonalds for breakfast, had a gun to my head and had to choose something real quick without thinking, I’d probably choose oatmeal. But let’s be real here, I’ve never HAD to go to McDonalds.

Oatmeal is one of the most benign health foods in the world. It’s pretty hard to screw it up but that’s exactly what fast food has done. If you make oatmeal at home, it’s easiest thing to make ever – hot water/milk and some oats straight out of your pantry and voila – you’ve got breakfast with soluble fiber, protein, and real whole grains that will keep you full for hours.

But when you buy it on the run and or get it “to go” because pouring hot or even cold liquid over something straight out of your pantry is just too much for your busy life – you get cheap GMO oils that promote prostate and bone cancer, coloring that could be cancerous, nasty preservatives, heart disease promoting transfat, stabilizer causing intestinal distress, and oh boy – natural flavor that comes from who knows what.


The ingredients that are added to oatmeal by places like McDonalds, Panera Bread, Jamba Juice, and Quaker (which Burger King, Dunkin Donuts and other fast food places use) are dreadful. This why you must it a priority to make your own oatmeal, even when you don’t think you have time to make it.

I used to travel for work every single week for a few years and I was never forced to buy oatmeal because I had my recipe for oatmeal “on the go” down pat.

Here’s what I did and still do when time is short or when I’m on the run:

  • I carry a mixture of 1/4 cup instant plain organic oatmeal, 1/4 cup rolled organic oatmeal, and a few sprinkles of organic cinnamon in a ziplock bag.
  • In another ziplock bag, I have one whole date and a few walnuts.
  • When I am ready to make oatmeal – I get a cup of hot water from a place like a hotel, gas station or even Starbucks. (No, this is not stealing because they will gladly give this to you for free and I’ll tip the barista for the free water)
  • I break or cut up the date into pieces and add the oatmeal into the cup of hot water, do a quick stir and let it sit until it’s warmed through and the oats have soaked up all the water and the date dissolves.
  • Before eating, I add the walnuts for a crunchy topping, sometimes I’ll add a packet of almond butter too for a long lasting meal.
  • The cinnamon and date act as amazing (real!) natural flavor and sweetness. The date actually dissolves quite a bit in the oatmeal which leaves a great delicious consistency.
  • Sometimes this recipe varies, depending what I have access to. I like to add banana, raisins, goji berries and/or other nuts. The toppings you can carry in your bag that travel well are really endless.

Thank you for reading – love you guys.

If you know someone who is still buying fast food oatmeal, please share this post with them. You’ll save their health and help them save lots of cash too.


Food Babe

Contest is now closed. Congratulations to Doug J., Nichole , Jackie D. for winning the Country Choice Organic giveaway! Please check your email for details. If you didn’t win – Country Choice Organic is available on Amazon and most natural food stores.

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554 responses to “The Worst Way To Eat Oatmeal Ever.

  1. I love oatmeal! I eat oatmeal at least 3 times a week. I love to put bananas and dried cranberries in it with a bit of cinnamon. Delish! I hope i win! 🙂

  2. I’ll never understand how it takes just a handful of ingredients to make a food at home, and yet when you go to buy it at a store or restaurant, it has more ingredients ( or toxins) then Elizabeth Taylor had husbands…I have become a fan of oatmeal, and I love to alternate the flavors depending on the season. My favorite is Fall, because that’s when I make Pumpkin Oatmeal. So good, so filling, so healthy. Toxic free.

  3. Thank you for all of your wonderful information! If only there was a fast food place with ALL ORGANIC ingredients. You would be the perfect creator 🙂 🙂 🙂

  4. Love this idea! I am new to your blog and am loving it!
    Have you posted what and where you buy staples
    for your pantry/fridge? Who usually has the best deals etc?

  5. Hi Food babe, I’m suscribed and I have been receiving your updates, but I don’t know why I didn’t receive this one. Anyways, I would like to participate 🙂 I LOVE your blog!

  6. Great insight to what seems to be a healthy fast food option, and to what is behind the brands of oatmeal. This article has changed my options that I will make of what brand to buy as well as how I will make my choice for oatmeal on the go a healthier option. Thanks!

  7. We found a great way for my husband to grab breakfast on the way out the door. We put oatmeal in a paper to-go cup and fill with hot water. He loves it with nothing added and it helps regulate his blood sugar. We are working on the paper vs. reuseable cup but hey, hes a guy this is easy.

    1. It is sweetened and has natural flavors so we suggest making your own – use organic rolled oats and sweeten yourself. Just as easy and you know exactly what is in it. Good luck!

  8. Hey food babe! I love your site but I’m new, and I’m wondering what is wrong with sunflower oil? I’m just concerned because I like cooking with it for its high heat tolerance. Thanks!

  9. I’m just curious, why aren’t you highlighting *sugar* as one of the “bad” ingredients in these products? I would suspect that high sugar content in foods is far worse for our health than these other ingredients.

    1. It is not one of Food Babe’s recommended oils because it is a highly processed oil and it is high in Omega 6’s and most of us need more Omega 3’s in our diet. Her favorite oils for high heat are coconut oil or sesame oil.

  10. Healthier yet purchase a handy oat flaker, buy some oat groats, and freshly flake your oats the day you need them. I take it a step further and soak my oats for 24 hrs then dehydrate them on low to retain more nutrients Heaven only knows how long some of these already flaked oats have been sitting on the shelves and when the were processed. This way you are getting a MUCH hefty does of yummy healthiness 🙂

  11. Thanks for everything you do Vani! I love me some oatmeal but I don’t ever buy any fast food. You just can’t trust it!

  12. I use almond milk, instead of water and I add milled flax seeds, a touch of honey and some cinnamon. It is super yummy!

  13. i know this sounds weird, but black coffee (i brew my own in a french press) instead of hot water is a great flavor enhancer for oatmeal!

  14. What about Trader Joe’s Rolled Oats Oatmeal? They used to sell Country Choice before and we would purchase it but, unfortunately they no longer sell it 🙁

  15. What about Umpqua oats? Most of the ingredients look okay (besides a little sugar, but still better than corn syrup), even though obviously making your own is ideal. The ingredients in this oatmeal does look more minimal/ less processed than, say, Quaker. Just wondering because i work at a coffee shop that sells Umpqua oats.

  16. What if you eat the steel cuts oats at Panera plain (no topping at all)? That was how I was eating it.

  17. We’re all learning how to shop & make good 4 us meals. I have only recently learnt about the harm microwaving food does to it.. basically, strips it of the very good that we’re shooting for! O^O I encourage everyone to do some reading up on microwaves and decide for yourself.

    Thanks so very much Food Babe for opening my eyes! I really had no idea about the overload of chemicals, toxins, pesticides on/in our food/veggies and the GMO’s!!! Keep up the good work!!!

  18. Easy oats on the go: use a SS thermal food jar. Add raw oats and hot water, stir, cap and wait. Cooking time depends on several factors, mainly the type of oats used. Regular rolled or the slightly-smashed Bob’s Red Mill “quick” Steel Cut are fully cooked after 10-15 min. Leave lid on longer for softer oats, etc.

  19. Unless you use steel cut oats or Irish oats or something along that line, your oatmeal is not much healthier than that you criticize. Using instant oats give little food value and turns to sugar quickly in the body. Add to that the date and other sugary fruit you put in and you have created a breakfast not much healthier than most children’s breakfast cereal.

    1. I agree with Steve. Regular oats do not help regulate blood sugars. Just have some steel cut oats with a few blue berries…boom. Great breakfast.

    2. It should be noted that she doesn’t cite any evil ingredients in the actual Panera steel cut Oatmeal itself, just the extras added on top. So technically she could bring her own cinnamon and dates if she’s so afraid that Panera is trying to kill her. My philosophy on the subject is very simple… That just leaves more Panera Oatmeal for me 🙂

  20. I always call ahead to every hotel I stay at and see if they have oatmeal. Then I ask if it can be made with just oatmeal and water. I f not I bring my own oatmeal. I also always pack flaxseed, real maple syrup and psyllium husk. I even did this when I traveled in Europe.

  21. Wow!!!! Why does oatmeal need caramel color?!? And all the other added stuff? Thanks for opening my eyes to this! If I am delayed while running early AM errands, I’ve picked up oatmeal from time to time, thinking it was healthy… oats and water, a little sugar, seems like not too big a deal. Man, I was wrong! I am going to try the homemade instant packs. =)

  22. I began eating “cooking” oatmeal every morning with cinnamon, dehydrated cherries, flax seed and pecan pieces about two years ago when menopause hit me….no more intestinal “issues”, no cravings and reduced hot flashes. Good stuff!

  23. Cool tip! My wife eats a lot of oatmeal from Starbucks. Any idea if this is also filled with nefarious ingredients?

  24. I am a big oatmeal person and i love making my own and adding my own toppings. I recently found Nature Path Flax seed oatmeal it looked good because it had the flax seed in it and it was all ” organic” and my family member bought it. When i read the ingredients it contains all organic ingredients ” rolled oats, flax seed, cane sugar and salt'” Isn’t cane sugar bad for you and full of GMO?

  25. I love making over night oats in a mason jar. You just add the ingredients and liquid that soaks the oatmeal, put in the refrigerator and eat in the morning. You can add extra things in the morning such as nuts.

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