McDonald’s Oatmeal

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I really love my oats. My idea of a perfect morning includes a warm bowl of stove top oats, eaten while sitting in my pajamas and watching the Today show. But that’s not realistic these days!

A few weeks ago, I did a review of Starbucks oatmeal, which I thought was pretty good. It’s a convenient option for mornings when I am not prepared and need to eat breakfast on the go. Blog reader Nanc sent me a coupon to try the oatmeal at McDonald’s, so that I could compare (and get a free breakfast in the process!)

So I stepped into McDonald’s recently and asked for the oats, without brown sugar please. The staff seemed confused; initially they thought they were out of the oats, and then someone found them. I guess customers don’t order the oats very often? But soon after I was given a bowl filled with hot oats topped with apples and dried fruit.

While the Starbucks oats might be considered a little dry, the McDonald’s version might be considered a little too soupy. Without brown sugar, it wasn’t very sweet of course, but the apples and dried fruit did lend a slightly sweet flavor and a nice texture. Overall, I enjoyed it and would order it again if I found myself in a McDonald’s. And the oatmeal is available all day, not just at breakfast, so it could be an option while traveling. The nutrition label is right on the container, although the calculation includes the brown sugar which can be omitted as I requested.

This oatmeal was heavily criticized by Mark Bittman for having several artificial ingredients, and a unnecessarily high calorie count due to the addition of cream and added sugar. He also makes the point that it is much cheaper and healthier to make a bowl of oats at home, but you probably already knew that! This article offers a rebuttal to Bittman’s arguments. While the oats may have a calorie count similar to an Egg McMuffin, they have less fat and saturated fat. And even if there are artificial ingredients, the oats do contain whole grains with fiber.

I’d like to add another point. While oats are a familiar food for me, that may not be the case for many McDonald’s customers. Maybe some people will be introduced to oats via the fast food version, and then be more likely to try them in other settings. Maybe some people will like the oatmeal so much that they purchase oats at the grocery store to cook at home. While I still have many concerns about fast food, the frequency at which it is consumed, and the portion sizes which are sold, the McDonald’s oatmeal may not be all bad.

Feel free to weigh in with a comment!

3 thoughts on “McDonald’s Oatmeal

  1. Great topic! I haven't tried the oatmeal from either Starubucks or McDonalds yet. It seems that although the oatmeal at McDonalds isn't as healthy as oats you make at home, it's a great alternative for the everyday McDonalds customer who orders a Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit. The oatmeal, even at McD's, is still a better choice.


  2. I have had McD's oatmeal a couple of times down here (CT)and it was much thicker, not soupy at all. I guess it depend on who makes it. I really enjoyed the apples and dried fruit on top.


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