Product Review: Better Oats, Oat Revolution Instant Oatmeal
My maternal grandmother lived in the country, in a small town in South Texas. She lived a long full life to the age of 95, and though she was of humble means, you would never know it to meet her. Her life was rich with love and filled with good food. She called her home “El Rancho Starvo,” but visitors did not starve at all, as she always had something tasty to serve.
I love this photo which shows most of my cousins in our very busy ways, circa 1981. In case you’re wondering, I am the curly headed kiddo in front with one hand in my mouth and the other apparently in the crockpot…clearly up to no good! The other kid up to no good is my brother, who seems to be trying to jump out of the arms of our eldest cousin in the back. What troublemakers!
Grandmother was a smart lady, as most grandmas, nanas, and mee-maws are. She tricked us into eating things children would probably ordinarily not eat with her enthusiasm for whatever it was. Don’t get me wrong, she liked her treats, but, she also fed us healthy food.
I remember being a small girl and eating oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar with Grandmother. She talked it up, and, I ate it up! Of course, these oats were made on the stove the old fashioned way, but, oatmeal is still a favorite today, whether made on the stove or in the microwave, or when I’m on the go – from a packet with hot water poured on them.
I was thrilled when Amazon Fresh asked me to join its product reviewers program, and, especially thrilled when my first product to review was an oats product called Oat Revolution from Better Oats. Amazon has no idea I write a food blog – I am certain I got into this program based on my historic spending levels! – the requirement for the program is to place a review on Amazon Fresh’s site (which I’ve done). But, I thought I’d share my thoughts on this product with you guys and give it a more in-depth review.
To be totally upfront and honest, I stopped buying individually packaged oatmeal some time back for two reasons:
- Cost. It is cheaper to buy oatmeal in bulk. It just is.
- Ingredients. Until my healthy eating makeover early last year, I never really thought about ingredients of what I ate. When I started reading labels, I discovered that a packet of oatmeal has a lot of ingredients in it!
However, when I’m travelling, the first thing I reach for at the hotel’s breakfast bar is a packet of oats. And, if there is no breakfast bar, I plan ahead and bring my own oats. Packaged oatmeal is still healthier than 99% of the choices at a continental breakfast – or mini mart – and, it’s in a nicely portion-controlled package.
Is it Really An Oat Revolution?
Topline: In some ways, yes. In some ways, no.
Revolutionary: Packaging. The package is fairly unconventional which Better Oats claims uses 35% less packaging than other brands. I can believe that – it’s tall and skinny, and the packets inside are, well, tall and skinny. The packets are stacked tightly into the box with very little extra room. And, in an interesting twist, there is a built in measuring “cup” on the back of each packet.
From a storage perspective, this is a good idea. I have bought a lot of Quaker Oats packages in my time, and, there is a lot of extra air space in those boxes, which just requires more packaging to contain. Score one for Oat Revolution!
One packaging caveat is that Oat Revolution only includes five packets, not the standard ten that you are probably accustomed to receiving in packaged oatmeal.
Not Revolutionary: Ingredients.
Let’s do a comparison of the ingredients in Oat Revolution and Quaker oats, to see where they stack up:
|Oat Revolution Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oats|
Whole grain rolled oats, sugar, flaxseed, natural and artificial flavor, guar gum, caramel color, calcium carbonate, ferric phosphate (source of iron), alpha tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), niaciamide, vitamin A (palmitate), pyridoxine hydrochloride*, riboflavin*, thiamin mononitrate*, folic acid*.
|Quaker Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oats|
*One of the B vitamins.
When printed side-by-side, it is pretty clear that the Oat Revolution actually has more ingredients than Quaker. For this flavor, I would expect to see three, maybe four, ingredients: Oats, maple syrup/flavor, brown sugar and potentially salt.
The Oat Revolution has 15 named ingredients, and Quaker has 14. To be fair, most of the added ingredients are vitamins, which can be a good thing. But, they both have the mysterious “natural and artificial flavors” and the enticing “caramel color.”
The main difference? Oat Revolution adds flaxseed, and alpha tocopheryl acetate, AKA, vitamin E. Quaker uses an oats and oat bran blend, and adds straightforward salt. Otherwise, they’re pretty much the same when it comes to ingredients.
The price will of course vary based on your location and where you buy them, but, here is a little comparison of pricing from Amazon Fresh, my main grocer besides Trader Joe’s:
|Better Oats Maple & Brown Sugar||Quaker Maple & Brown Sugar||Bob’s Red Mill Plain Instant Oats, 16 oz|
|Cost Per Serving||$.40||$.42||$.15|
With the plain oats, you do have costs to flavor them, though it’s doubtful that you’d add $.25 worth of flavoring to make up the difference.
To test these oats, I poured two packets in a bowl, used the little on-packet measuring cup, and measured out two portions of milk. The directions call for water, but I like my oats with milk.
In general, they tasted as expected, though perhaps a tad too sweet. (Interestingly, my other Amazon Fresh tasters also noted they were a little too sweet). They were not at all gritty, like some pre-packaged oats can tend to be, and, the flaxseed added a nice little extra texture.
On a side note, it may be me, but I have always used two packets of instant oats in order to get enough calories to be full. So, with the aforementioned 5 packet containers, I wouldn’t get an even division of packets!
On a second side note, I have a flaxseed allergy and ate these anyway so I could tell you guys about them! What’s a little swollen throat among friends?
According to the Better Oats website, the Maple & Brown Sugar flavor has:
- 28 grams of whole grains per serving
- Good source of Omega-3
- Excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A & E
- Good source of Fiber
- Good source of Calcium
What it doesn’t say is that it’s kind of on the higher side when it comes to sodium, but actually less than a comparable packet from Quaker.
If you like instant oats and prefer the convenience of pre-packaged/pre-flavored oats, I think you will like these. There are quite a lot of flavor varieties, from Apples and Cinnamon to Strawberries & Cream to Cinnamon Roll, and just about everything in between, including plain, which is called Classic. The addition of flaxseed is a nice touch for most people, as it has about 300 MG of ALA Omega-3s, or 20% of your DV for Omega-3s.
Okay, that was probably way more than you wanted to read about oatmeal, so if you made it this far, high five!