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McDonalds for Breakfast? Wonder What's in That Oatmeal?


I thought it might be best to start with a list of ingredients. Being a cook/chef myself I'm always interested in new food technology, especially ways to update and improve on classics.

Grandma's Oatmeal
Ingredients ROLLED OATS, water.

McDonald's Oatmeal
Whole grain rolled oats, brown sugar, food starch-modified, salt, natural flavor (plant source), barley malt extract, caramel color.

Diced Apples
Apples, calcium ascorbate (a blend of calcium and vitamin C to maintain freshness and color).

Cranberry Raisin Blend
Dried sweetened cranberries (sugar, cranberries), California raisins, golden raisins, sunflower oil, sulfur dioxide (preservative).

Light Cream
Milk, cream, sodium phosphate, datem, sodium stearoyl lactylate, sodium citrate, carrageenan.

If you are familiar with what goes into store-bought food that's actually a reasonable ingredient list unless you consider what is actually in homemade oatmeal but the important question for health-conscious consumers is what does it really all add up to?

If you special order the plain oatmeal you get 190 calories, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, and 140 mg of sodium along with 14 grams of sugars.

With everything (including milk, sugar, and fruit - the way it is normally served) the totals are 290 calories, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, and 160 mg of sodium along with 32 grams of sugars.

For comparison, a Big Mac has 540 calories, 29 grams of fat, 1040 mg of sodium and 9 grams of sugars.

The basic McDonald 3.5 oz. hamburger has 250 calories and 520 mg of sodium.

A small fries has 230 calories, 11 grams of fat, and 160 mg of sodium.

So, if you substitute a small French fries for McDonald's oatmeal the way it is generally served, you save 60 calories, get the same amount of salt, but about double the amount of fat.

Oh, by the way, I checked two brands of oatmeal in my pantry, one "quick" and the other "old fashioned." Both had identical lists of ingredients: ROLLED OATS.

That's all, just oats - to make oatmeal you add water (even cold water), wait a few minutes (perhaps while you are looking for your shoes, and you have oatmeal. Try some honey on top.

You can even put rolled oats and water in the fridge the night before so it is ready to microwave.

You can keep both boxed rolled oats and honey on your shelf for just short of forever (since honey doesn't spoil). So the next time there is a hurricane coming, don't complain you don't have any food.

Now I understand that people have busy lives but considering that you can make oatmeal at home in about 120 seconds (about 10 seconds of actual work), I wonder just how much time and money you can not going to McDonalds, waiting in the drive through, and getting back on the road. Is five minutes a good guess? How about the cost? You can make a LOT of oatmeal from one box of rolled oats. With gas prices today you might be able to make a bowl of oatmeal for the cost of the extra gas you use to get it from McDonalds.

Of course, if you make it at home and add milk then you miss out on LOT, for example, "food starch-modified, salt, natural flavor (plant source), barley malt extract, and caramel color, Milk, cream, sodium phosphate, datem, sodium stearoyl lactylate, sodium citrate, and carrageenan.


John McCormick is a reporter, /science/medical columnist and finance and social commentator, with 17,000+ bylined stories. Contact John through NewsBlaze.

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