There's really nothing wrong with oatmeal. In fact, it's considered one of the healthiest breakfast items to eat for a longer life! Oats are packed with dietary fiber and are a great source of all kinds of nutrients. Topped with fruits, nut butter, and seeds, and it can truly be a nutritious breakfast. Unless, of course, that packet of oatmeal is masked with loads of added sugars—turning it into one of the unhealthiest oatmeals on the planet.
In order to ensure you're not turning to a sugar bomb in the morning, we decided to list out some of the unhealthiest oatmeals on the planet for you. In order to determine the unhealthiest, we looked at the sugars (specifically the added sugar) content of each packet. If that instant oatmeal had 10 grams of added sugar in it, it went on the list.
Now, there are actually a lot of instant oatmeals out there that are loaded with sugar. These are just some of the few that have more than you probably want to consume—especially if that oatmeal doesn't even reach 200 calories (which is barely a satiating breakfast for you) and doesn't provide you with any other good nutrients.
In order from the not-so-bad to the absolute worst, here are some of the unhealthiest oatmeals on the planet to avoid, as well as a few healthy alternatives to grab instead. And for more healthy eating tips, be sure to check out our list of 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.
Kodiak Cakes Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal
Per 1 packet: 190 calories, 2.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 160 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (3 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 12 g protein
While it's certainly not the worst maple brown sugar oatmeal on the market, 10 grams of added sugar in one packet is still a bit high for a breakfast that's less than 200 calories. Instead, splurge on a container of Kodiak's Classic Rolled Oats canister, which serves you oats that are packed with protein (10 grams per 1/2 cup!) and only 1 gram of sugar.
Better Oats, Steel Cut Instant Oatmeal, Maple&Brown
Per 1 pouch: 170 calories, 3 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 210 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (4 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 5 g protein
Don't let the labels "steel cut" and "flax seeds" fool you! While these are both words that sound healthy, with 11 grams of sugar in a single packet, this packet is anything but. Instead, get yourself a packet of Better Oats Original Steel Cut Instant Oatmeal (0 grams of sugar) and top it with a tablespoon of peanut butter for a satiating (and low sugar!) breakfast.
O Organics Oatmeal Instant Maple Brown Sugar
Per 1 packet: 150 calories, 2.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 170 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (3 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 4 g protein
Maple Brown Sugar is certainly a flavor that packs in the sugar, and the O Organics brand of instant oatmeal is no exception! Plus, with not a lot of fat or protein content, this breakfast doesn't have a lot to offer your body, and certainly won't leave you feeling full for hours afterward.
Great Value Instant Oatmeal, Cinnamon Roll
Per 1 packet: 160 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 240 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (3 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 4 g protein
160 calories may not seem like a lot, but 12 grams of added sugar sure is. It's best to steer clear of this particular offering through Great Value, and many of the other flavored instant oatmeal packets they have on the market as well.
Quaker Instant Oatmeal Apples&Cranberries
Per 1 packet: 160 calories, 2 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 150 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (3 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 4 g protein
Although the Quaker Instant Oatmeal packets have significantly less sugar compared to some of their other offerings, they still have a good amount of added sugars in them to watch for. The Apples&Cranberries has 9 grams of added sugar in it, which although has the least amount in the entire list, it's still pretty high for a meal that's less than 200 calories. Instead, buy Quaker's Original Instant Oatmeal packets (0 grams of sugar) and add a few sliced apples and dried cranberries yourself.
Signature SELECT Oatmeal Instant Maple&Brown Sugar
Per 1 packet: 160 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 110 mg sodium, 32 g carbs (3 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 8 g protein
Another brown sugar option that's loaded with sugar! However, unlike other oatmeals, this one does include 8 grams of protein, which is rare to find that much protein in a packet of Instant oatmeal.
Market Pantry Instant Oatmeal Fruit&Cream Variety Pack
Per 1 packet: 130 calories, 2 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 180 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (2 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 3 g protein
Every single oatmeal in Market Pantry's Instant Oatmeal Fruit&Creamy Variety Pack has over 10 grams of added sugar. The worst of the punch is a tie between the Peaches&Cream and Strawberries&Cream with 13 grams of sugar total. The better Market Pantry option would be to buy their 42 oz. tub of quick oats and make it yourself instead!
Nature's Path Organic Instant Oatmeal, Apple Cinnamon
Per 1 packet: 210 calories, 2.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 100 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (4 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 5 g protein
Nature's Path may seem like the healthier option, but when you take a look at the added sugars (13 total), it's quite staggering. It seems the combination of apple in instant oatmeal tends to significantly increase the sugar content in instant oatmeal. Instead, why not make that combination yourself? Snag the Nature's Path Original Instant Oatmeal (1 gram of sugar), then cut up an apple and sprinkle on some cinnamon yourself. This adds a good amount of dietary fiber and decreases the sugar count significantly.
Quaker Real Medleys Oatmeal+ Apple Walnut
Per 1 container: 290 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 250 mg sodium, 54 g carbs (5 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 6 g protein
While this particular oatmeal cup does provide the most calories out of all the unhealthiest oatmeals, it includes the most sugar with 22 grams—17 of them are added sugars. With so many added sugars, it is certainly the one oatmeal to stay away from. Instead, check out All 25 Quaker Instant Oatmeal Packets—Ranked!
For a healthier option, snag Quaker 50% Less Sugar Instant Oatmeal Cup with Cinnamon&Peach, which only has 6 grams of sugar and less than half the amount of carbs.