23 February 2011 ~ Comments Off on Oatmeal: McDonald’s vs. Starbucks vs. You

Oatmeal: McDonald’s vs. Starbucks vs. You

Even the cartons are over-the-top.

Call them the “oatmeal wars.” Two major corporate titans, spending vast amounts of money to convince you the healthy, convenient answer to your breakfast problems is to stop in and buy a cup of oatmeal.

I’m currently sitting on a stack of free coupons McDonald’s and Starbucks have sent me in order to have me sample their new oatmeal offerings. Are they really healthy? Do they make it convenient to have a good breakfast?

Scratch “Healthy”

The first problem is that the oatmeal you’re getting from these food giants isn’t necessarily healthy. In fact, according to this NY Times piece, if you use the “healthy” fruit and “cream,” the McDonald’s oatmeal contains more calories than their regular hamburger! The article also points out that the “cream” has seven ingredients.

As for that fruit, it should be pointed out that dried fruit is essentially a fruit-flavored sugar lump, almost free of the fiber and nutrients that exist in non-dried fruit. All in all, this is “oatmeal” created in a lab.

The Starbucks oatmeal, on the other hand, can be had completely plain (although the “oatmeal” itself contains 13 ingredients), but who does that? To top it with the included accoutrements makes it even more carb-laden than the Mickey D’s version, despite a smaller size.

Scratch “Convenient”

Since we know these “healthy options” aren’t so healthy when fully dressed, surely the make-or-break selling point must be the incredible convenience. I mean, who has time to make a healthy breakfast at home?

Not so fast. (Pun intended.)

The time it takes to wait in line, order, pay and have it made probably total, what, 5 minutes when it’s not busy, more like 10 when it is. And if you have to drive to the joint, add a few more.

Just like the illusion of a healthy food product, these multinational corporations are selling the illusion of convenience. Here, let me show you how to get truly healthy oatmeal in a much shorter time.

Make Your Own Damn Oatmeal

Did you know that old-fashioned oatmeal cooks up in just 2 minutes in a microvave? “Quick” oats take even less time. Two minutes or less. Ronald and his peeps can’t beat that. Neither can Dr. Evil’s cash cow.

Instructions, should you need them:

  • Pour about a half-cup of oatmeal into a large microwave-safe bowl.
  • Cover the oatmeal completely with water. (You can adjust the ratio after the first time or two.)
  • Microwave it on high for 2 minutes or less. During this time you can continue getting ready for work, or just relax for a moment.
  • Remove (bowl will be hot!) and add anything you like. I recommend plain greek-style yogurt (protein!) and some water-packed fruit cocktail.

No time to actually consume it? Put it in a container to take with you, or just bring the ingredients to work and make it there. (If I really have to help you figure this out, McDonald’s might be for you after all.)

Using common sense, you can avoid unhealthy “healthy” foods and actually free up some time instead of waiting on line for “convenience.”

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