The other day I received a promotional packet and a sample (getting food samples is the best part about being a dietitian!) from Quaker Oats promoting their new Hearty Medleys Instant Multigrain Cereal. Of course we have all heard it over and over, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
And apparently, Quaker has partnered with Biggest Loser fitness trainer Bob Harper in an effort to help Americans jump start their day and reset their mornings in a healthier, more positive way.I applaud their efforts to encourage people to eat breakfast; however, you might want to read the label on Quaker's latest creation a little closer.
Front of package- Loaded with Real Fruits & Nuts
Serving size: 1 pouch
130 calories, 2.5 g fat, 135 mg sodium, 27 g carbs, 11 g sugar, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein
INGREDIENTS: MULTI GRAIN BLEND (WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED RYE,WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED BARLEY), SUGAR, WHOLE GRAIN ROLLEDWHEAT, ALMONDS, DEHYDRATED APPLES (TREATED WITH SODIUM SULFITE TO PROMOTE COLORRETENTION), SWEETENED CRANBERRIES (CRANBERRIES, SUGAR, CITRIC ACID, ELDERBERRYJUICE CONCENTRATE, CHERRY JUICE CONCENTRATE), OAT FLOUR, SALT, CINNAMON,NATURAL FLAVOR.
So the nutriton doesn't look that bad (especially compared with a donut or other pastry) but it is not that great when compared with regular oats.
Regular Oats (per 1/2 cup dry): 150 calories, 2.5 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, less than 1 g sugar 4 g fiber, 5 g protein
Back to the Hearty Medleys, there is not a distinction between added sugar and natural sugar on the label, so you have to read the ingredients list more closely. Notice that the second ingredient is SUGAR. That means that most of the 11g of sugar on the label is indeed added sugar. Now this doesn't seem like alot and only equates to 44 calories, but it all adds up. Keep in mind that sugar is okay in moderation, but it really doesn't have any nutritional benefit. And just a comment about the sodium 135 mg is not alot (only 6% of the daily value) but again it all adds up. Finally, 130 calories isn't much. Not necessarily a hearty breakfast on its own. I would be starving by mid-morning!
So Quaker Hearty Medleys is not a bad choice as compared with other breakfast offerings (bagels, donuts, croissants, etc), but by spending a couple of minutes, you could make it better with your own version.
1/2 cup oats
2 tbsp dried cranberries
1 tbp sliced almonds
1/4 cup sliced apple
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
Add 1 cup of water to above ingredients. Microwave for 2-3 minutes until thickened.
Per serving: 252 calories, 5.6 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 46.4 g carbs, 13.4 g sugar (from fruits), 6.6 g fiber