Are you looking for the best instant oatmeal for weight loss? I have reviewed the most popular and effective brands. The ones that will help you lose a few pounds in just a few weeks. In this article, you’ll find different types of oatmeal that will not just help you lose weight but also improve your health.
Oats and weight loss
A small study showed that diets rich in whole grains are associated with lower body weight, and every type of oat contains plant protein and fiber that curb hunger.
In fact, oats harbor a special kind of fiber called beta glucan, which showed particular promise for weight loss in a 2012 research review.
“All varieties of oats contain beta glucan,” says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, PR dietitian for Quaker Oats. “It’s this soluble fiber in unflavored oatmeal that may help support healthy weight management, according to the research.”
Oats and blood sugar
Researchers study the effects that oats have on blood sugar — particularly for people with diabetes. One study found that people with type 2 diabetes who ate more oats for a year experienced lower blood sugar levels and lower weight.
“Steel-cut oats are likely to exhibit the lowest blood sugar impact, followed by old-fashioned oats, and then quick oats,” notes Largeman-Roth.
Ultimately, the kind of oats that’ll bring down the number on the scale are the kind you’ll actually eat — especially when crunched for time. Hint: For that reason, instant oats might offer a distinct advantage for weight loss.
We’re going to dive into every oat-y option and let you choose which is best for your lifestyle.
Is Instant Oatmeal Good for a Dieter?
One of the keys to weight loss is focusing on foods that fill you up as well as provide nutrition. Eating a healthy breakfast has been shown to help with losing weight and keeping it off. Instant oatmeal is an excellent choice for dieters. Not only does it taste great, but it is also satisfying and can be eaten in an infinite number of ways.
Low in Calories
One packet of instant oatmeal contains about 150 calories. Check the ingredient list to make sure the only ingredient is oats. Watch out for flavored oatmeal — they often contain added sugars, which are a source of empty calories. Cook your oatmeal in water instead of milk to save calories, and don’t forget to calculate any additional calories from extra toppings.
High in Fiber
Fiber slows the release of energy from your food into your body which helps you feel full longer. There are 4 grams of fiber in one packet of instant oatmeal. When you limit the amount of food you eat, you want to make sure that you make smart choices that will satisfy your hunger. High-fiber foods are usually less energy-dense, which means that you get a larger volume of food for fewer calories.
Source of Some Protein
Oatmeal is frequently considered a carbohydrate food and avoided by dieters. Although it does supply carbohydrates, you may be surprised to learn that it also has 6.5 grams of protein. The combination of fiber and protein makes oatmeal an ideal dieter’s food. Like fiber, protein helps to increase satiety after eating. Try having a hard-boiled egg or mixing some protein
into your oats for an added protein boost.
Best Instant Oatmeal for Weight Loss, Says Dietitian
Just because you buy an instant oatmeal packet doesn’t mean you can’t stick to your health goals.
Oatmeal is a timeless, healthy breakfast choice full of fiber and protein, and there are endless possibilities for making your own personalized creation.
Oatmeal is also specifically great for weight loss goals because not only does its fiber content help with your digestion, but it also keeps you full for longer periods of time throughout the morning. Many nutrition experts recommend stocking up on steel-cut oats or rolled oats, but we all know that instant oats are a favorite amongst shoppers due to their convenience.
While they’re the quickest and easiest oatmeal option, not all instant oatmeal packets will support your health goals in the same way.
According to Laura Burak, MS, RD, author of Slimdown with Smoothies, and founder of Laura Burak Nutrition, the best type of instant oatmeal to buy is anything that comes plain, so that you can add in your own ingredients.
“Instead of choosing sugary sweet instant oatmeal packs, buy any plain version you can find and doctor it up yourself with fruit, fiber, and added protein like nut butter and seeds,” says Burak.
Continue reading to learn more about how you can make instant oatmeal to meet your weight loss goals, and for more healthy eating tips make sure to check out 6 Oatmeal Habits That Help With Weight Loss.
The best instant oatmeal is one that you can add your own toppings to.
The key when it comes to choosing a healthier instant oatmeal is avoiding the types that come with extra added sugar, especially because “most instant oatmeals on the market are full of added sugar, colors, other artificial flavors,” says Burak.
For example, it may seem fun to buy something like Quaker’s Instant Oatmeal with Dinosaur Eggs, but this comes loaded with 11 grams of added sugar per serving. And even something a bit tamer, like Quaker’s Cinnamon and Spice, comes with 10 grams of added sugar per serving as well.
Choosing a plain instant oatmeal may not seem as fun at first, but with zero grams of added sugar, it gives you the freedom to add your favorite toppings and ingredients while being able to control your portions.
Best Instant Oatmeals for a Nutrient-Rich Breakfast
Best Instant Oatmeal Overall: Bob’s Red Mill Classic Instant Oatmeal
Nutritional information per packet: 140 calories, 3.5 g of fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 23 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar and 4 grams of protein
If you want to doctor up your oatmeal to your own preferences, try starting with this classic option. “This oatmeal is made with minimal ingredients — whole grain rolled oats, flaxseed and a touch of salt — to allow for people to add whichever toppings their heart desires,” Manaker says.
You can prep this oatmeal on the stovetop or in the microwave. With either option, it’ll be ready in under 5 minutes.
2. Best Budget-Friendly: Good & Gather Organic Plain Instant Oatmeal Packet
This organic instant oatmeal is a low-cost option.
Nutritional information per packet: 100 calories, 2 g of fat (0 g saturated fat), 19 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar and 4 grams of protein
Another great option is available courtesy of Target’s private label brand Good and Gather. Manaker likes that this low-cost option is organic. This is ideal for oatmeal purists (the package contains just rolled oats, without any add-ins). Plus, it’s “perfect for being served under good-for-you toppings like walnuts and fresh berries,” she says.
A serving size is 100 calories and provides 4 grams of protein.
3. Best Steelcut: Quaker Quick 3-Minute Steel Cut Oats
While steel-cut oats often have a longer cook time, these ones from Quaker cook in just a few minutes (in either the microwave or on the stovetop).
Nutritional information per 1/3 cup: 170 calories, 3 g of fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 31 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of sugar (0 g added sugar) and 6 grams of protein
Unlike most oats, which are first steamed, then rolled and flattened, steel-cut oats are made from whole, hulled oat kernels cut with a steel blade, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Steel-cut oats have some health benefits: Since they’re less processed, and take longer to digest, they have a lower glycemic index than other oat options, per the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The downside: “Steel-cut oats typically take a very long time to cook,” Manaker says. Not so with this version from Quaker, which cook in minutes.
“Like classic steel-cut oats, these oats are a good source of fiber and are full of whole grain goodness,” Manaker says.
4. Best High Protein: Kodiak Cakes Protein-Packed Chocolate Chip Oatmeal
This sweet instant oatmeal option offers 12 grams of protein in a serving, which is about the same as having two eggs for breakfast.
Nutritional information per packet: 200 calories, 4 g of fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 30 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugar (that includes 10 grams of added sugars) and 12 grams of protein
Protein is an essential macronutrient, often described as the building block of life. Oatmeal has some protein, but it’s not classified as a high-protein food on its own. Adding a swirl of peanut butter can up the protein content of your breakfast.
Or, try this protein-packed oatmeal from Kodiak Cakes, which has 12 grams of protein per serving. That’s more than a large egg, which offers 6.3 grams of protein, according to the USDA.
This oatmeal option will “help keep you feeling fuller throughout a busy morning,” Fine says. Just note that along with the protein, you’re getting more sugar than other instant oatmeal options, thanks to those chocolate chips.
5. Best Organic: 365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Instant Oatmeal Original
This oatmeal is a USDA-certified organic option at a reasonable price point.
Nutritional information per packet: 150 calories, 2.5 g of fat (0 g saturated fat), 27 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar and 5 grams of protein
If you want your oatmeal to contain only USDA-certified organic rolled oats — and nothing else — then the original version of 365 Everyday Value Organic Instant Oatmeal is right for you. You won’t find added sodium or sugar in this instant oatmeal, which can be prepared (in the microwave or on the stovetop) in minutes.
The oatmeal is also Non-GMO Project Verified.
6. Best Gluten-Free: Bob’s Red Mill Blueberry Hazelnut Oatmeal Cup
You’ll find real blueberries, along with hazelnuts, flax and chia seeds in these gluten-free oatmeal cups.
Nutritional information per cup: 290 calories, 7 g of fat (1 g saturated fat), 49 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of sugar (including 9 grams of added sugars) and 7 grams of protein
Here’s the good news about oatmeal if you have a gluten intolerance: It’s naturally gluten-free. That being said, sometimes oatmeal is manufactured near other products that contain gluten. So, if you can’t tolerate gluten, make sure to opt for instant oatmeal — like these cups from Bob’s Red Mill — that are made in a gluten-free facility.
“The addition of flax and chia seeds elevates the nutrition in these oatmeal cups to pack tons of nutrition into these convenient cups,” Manaker says.
Recipes and toppings for weight loss
Oats are essentially a blank canvas for creating all manner of foodie masterpieces — not only for breakfast, but for other meals and snacks! Think outside the bowl with these weight loss-friendly preparations.
Did someone say zero cooking? We’re in. With endless customizability and no need to cook, the overnight oats trend deserves to keep going strong. Try these five creations with minimal ingredients.
Oatmeal bakes, casseroles, and bars
Bakes, casseroles, and bars, oh my! Breathe new life into your breakfast by using oats in 20 recipes that aren’t a bowl of oatmeal.
Rather than completely giving up desserts on your weight loss journey, try incorporating filling, nutrient-dense oats into your sweet treats. We’re drooling over healthy strawberry oatmeal bars from Well Plated by Erin and healthy apple crisp from Ambitious Kitchen.
High fiber filler
What do meatloaf, bean burgers, and smoothies have in common? They all provide the perfect hiding place for high fiber whole grain oats.
Shake a hearty 3/4 cup quick oats into this easy meatloaf from The Seasoned Mom. Or use our blueberry pancake and berry oat hazelnut smoothies as a delicious backdrop for extra oats.
Oatmeal with easy add-ins
When time is of the essence, the right toppings can transform a boring bowl of oatmeal into a convenient (and actually delicious) breakfast. Fresh fruits, seeds, nuts, and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves are all top-notch add-ins for weight loss.
Or take your morning bowl in a savory direction: “I love topping steel-cut oats with a fried egg and some kimchi — satisfying and full of flavor!” says Largeman-Roth.