Monday, February 28, 2011

McDonald's Oatmeal

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Have you heard about the newest item on McDonald's menu?  Oatmeal.  With maple syrup and fruit.  Thankfully it has finally started to get some attention.  I am entirely in favor of McDonald's adding healthier items.  McDonald's is the only food option available in the hospital on the weekends, except for a small cafe across the street that charges $8 for a salad or sandwich.  I think McDonalds got this one wrong.

Their oatmeal contains 290 calories, 10 calories less than a cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin.  Without the brown sugar it still contains more calories than a McDonalds hamburger.  It contains as much sugar as a Snickers bar, and it has 21 ingredients, including natural flavor, barley malt extract and caramel color.  It also comes with cream, which contains 7 of the ingredients (2 are dairy).

McDonalds argues that people add all sorts of stuff to their oatmeal at home and that most of the sugar is from brown sugar (duh) and fruit sugars.  Still, I would much rather control the amount of brown sugar I am adding, and you specifically have to ask not to get it. 

One of the babysteps we have made is making old fashioned oatmeal.  It really does taste better, and I was shocked to see how much sugar was in Quaker Instant flavors.  We just start it a few minutes before breakfast and everyone gets to add their own topics...with known ingredients and known amounts.

Thanks to Mark Bittman, NY times food columnist and food expert, for putting some heat on McDonalds for this decision!

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