McD’s + Oatmeal = NOT the healthiest of options

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February 26, 2013 by Dr. Sana Keller

Porridge with berries (1)I just noticed an ad for the fast-food giant, McDonalds in our local newspaper, “Stop in and try our New Nutritious Oatmeal Under 300 Calories!” on a page devoted to Heart Healthy information. Hmmm…Nutritious & McDonalds usually don’t go together. I have to admit, my curiosity got the best of me. Here’s what I found out when researching McDonald’s ‘New Fruit & Maple Oatmeal’:

  • It contains NO Maple anything (I also read that there are rumors of a lawsuit because of this)
  • Contains 290 Calories, 4.5 Grams Fat, 57 Grams Carbohydrates, 32 Grams Sugars, and 5 Grams Protein—So basically it contains as many calories as a small hot fudge sundae or a cheeseburger—as many grams of sugar as a bag of M&M’s.
  • Contains 21 ingredients—Seriously! Who do you know that adds datem (??), caramel color, carageenan, food starch, and sodium steroyl lactylate (???) to their oatmeal?
  • I saw a photo of their oatmeal online…steaming with fresh apples and raisins…which is misleading since only dried fruit is used in the real version.
  • One positive fact: It contains 5 Grams fiber.


This is a great example of Processed Food. You’re basically getting a package of processed oatmeal with cream mixed in. A bowl of oatmeal should never contain 21 ingredients (unless you’re adding a whole bunch of various seeds, berries & fruit)!

A healthier option: Steel-cut oats (a less-processed form of oatmeal), which contains 150 Calories, 28 Grams Carbohydrates, 0 Grams Sugars, 6 Grams Protein, 3 Grams Fat & 5 Grams Fiber. Obviously you would add some form of milk…and maybe some berries (fresh or frozen) which may sweeten it enough so no sweetener is needed. A few walnuts or almond slices would be a great addition as well! I make a large batch of it and keep it in the fridge so I can quickly warm a single portion for a quick breakfast.

Yet another healthier option: Chia seed porridge (Google this for great recipes). This can be made the evening before to grab on your way out the door. Three tablespoons of chia seeds reconstituted in liquid of choice provides 9 Grams protein, 15 Grams Carbohydrates, 0 Grams Sugars & 15 Grams Fiber. Chia seeds are also a great source of Omega-3’s—a very good thing!

You can do better than a 21-ingredient bowl of oatmeal that includes some ingredients most of us haven’t heard of (or should ever expect to find in our food!). Starting your day with fresh ingredients—real food—makes for a much better start to your day. Enjoy your breakfast!

Contact me at my website if you would like further healthy eating & healthy lifestyle recommendations:

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