Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Apples to Apples on Oatmeal

Today I was listening to the radio on my way home, and there was an advertisement for the latest addition to the McDonald's menu that sounded something like this: "Keep your New Year's Resolution with our Apple & Maple Oatmeal Breakfast"

Admittedly, I'm a critic of anything that comes from the Golden Arches. In fact, as a rule, I will not go there - not even for coffee. But I have to admit, after looking up the nutrition information on the McD's website, the oatmeal breakfast choice is not too bad:

http://nutrition.mcdonalds.com/nutritionexchange/nutritionfacts.pdf    - see page 6 for the Oatmeal

McOatmeal w/ Apples Topping w/o Brown Sugar (serving: 9.2oz)
Calories           290
Fat                  4.5g
Saturated Fat  1.5g
Cholesterol      10mg
Sodium            160mg

Homemade w/ Apples Topping (serving: 1/2 cup oatmeal + whole apple)
Calories           205
Fat                  3.2g
Saturated Fat   0.5g
Cholesterol      0mg
Sodium            591mg
  • My recipe includes:  1/2 cup Plain Oatmeal cooked on the stove, a whole (red) diced apple, and a dash of    salt.  Cinnamon would be optional, but would ADD NO NUTRITIONAL DOWNSIDE (calories, fat, sodium, etc)... but it does include antioxidants!

This comparison makes me ask a few questions. First, why the differences in Fat / Saturated Fat and Sodium.  Oatmeal by itself doesn't have a lot of flavor, hence the apples and a dash of salt. The salt is only there to bring out some flavor. Clearly (at least to me) McDonalds has used a fattier oatmeal (or perhaps an added hint of fat) for flavor... we'll never know! I also don't know if you get an entire apple in the McD's version - but with an entire apple, mine comes packed with 6.5g of fiber.

Now, all this criticism should come with a grain of salt. You can CERTAINLY make a better choice if you order the McDonald's Oatmeal over the Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit (my old favorite!) which contains 420 calories, 23g of Fat (12g of which are Saturated) and 235mg of cholesterol (holy cow!)

My point here is this:  Listen and look critically at foods that are touted as "Healthy" and decide for yourself if it's true.

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