Oatmeal has been a classic breakfast staple for many years – and for good reason. It’s healthy, inexpensive, and can be made with any flavors you desire. Oatmeal is also an easy swap to make when making the switch to healthy and organic food brands.
When shopping for a healthy oatmeal brand, you’ll want to look for pure, untreated organic oats for the best oatmeal option. However, this is not the most appetizing version on the market. So we’ve also highlighted a few healthy instant oatmeal brands that have prepackaged their products with healthy flavoring options such as apples and cinnamon – perfect for busy moms on the go. Keep reading to learn more about the healthiest oatmeal types and brands!
Please note that I am not a licensed nutritionist, dietician, or other medical professional, and you should always seek the guidance of your physician when it comes to dietary needs. The information below is based on my own research on the ingredients present in each brand of oatmeal and should not be taken as medical advice.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I could be compensated if you decide to make a purchase. You can read my full disclosure here.
Choosing the Healthiest Oatmeal Brand
In general, you’ll want to look for product labels stating that your oatmeal is organic and non-GMO. And depending on your dietary needs, you can search the product container for vegan, gluten-free or kosher food labels as well.
In addition, it’s best to avoid oatmeal products that have a large amount of unhealthy ingredients such as added sugar, salt, artificial flavors, food dyes, soybean oil or synthetic vitamins. In general, the fewer ingredients the better – and they should all be whole food items you can identify and pronounce such as dried fruit, cinnamon, nuts, seeds, sea salt and cane sugar.
Brands that have these certifications and a lack of unhealthy ingredients can safely be considered a good choice. That being said, there are a few well-known healthy oatmeal brands have more popularity than others!
The Healthiest Oatmeal Brands
We did a deep-dive into all of the most popular oatmeal brands on the market, and we’ve included our top picks below!
This brand specializes in organic breakfast foods such as oatmeal, granola, toaster pastries, cereal, and waffles. Nature’s Path makes both steel cut oats, old fashioned rolled oats, and instant oatmeal. They have a variety of oatmeal products in many different flavors including maple pecan, chocolate cinnamon, pumpkin spice, apple cinnamon, and blueberry cinnamon.
A fairly recent addition to the health food scene, Thrive Market is an online discount health food marketplace that also has its own product lines of many popular health food products. Thrive Market ethically sources their organic rolled oats from the U.S. and Canada. They are also certified gluten-free. If you’re not a member of Thrive Market, you can usually get a big discount on your first order! Click here to see.
This popular brand produces staple ingredients such as grains, seeds, flours, and cereals. They offer several different varieties of whole oat groats, old fashioned rolled oats, steel-cut oats, and even instant oats. Their instant oatmeal cups come in several unique flavors such as cranberry orange, blueberry hazelnut, and pineapple coconut. Some of their oat products are gluten-free and the majority are organic.
Purely Elizabeth is a relatively recent newcomer to the health food scene but has quickly exploded in popularity. Known for their organic granola, oatmeal, snack bars, and pancake mixes – Purely Elizabeth offers both bagged and single-serving instant oatmeal in a variety of flavors. In addition, all of their oats are certified gluten-free and manufactured in gluten-free facilities.
Whole Foods’ signature product line, 365 Organic, produces several oatmeal products including old-fashioned rolled oats, instant oatmeal, and steel-cut oats. Their instant oatmeal flavors are both unique and healthy and include triple berry, apple cinnamon chia, strawberries, and cream, or cinnamon spice.
The popular health food store, Trader Joe’s, has their own oatmeal product line. They offer organic instant oatmeal cups in both original and maple brown sugar flavors. They also offer steel-cut and old-fashioned rolled oats. Some of their oat products are gluten-free.
This health brand manufactures both steel-cut oats and old-fashioned rolled oats that are made in the USA and certified organic. They are unflavored and unprocessed.
One Degree’s oat products are sprouted and sourced from a “family farm” in addition to being organic. They offer instant oatmeal, steel-cut oats, and rolled oats. Most of their oat products are also certified gluten-free. Instant oatmeal flavors include apple cinnamon, cacao nib, coconut sugar & spice, and quinoa hemp.
Still unsure which product to buy? Keep reading below for our top picks per oatmeal type:
Best Instant Oatmeal
We’ve selected the Purely Elizabeth instant oatmeal product line as our top pick for instant oatmeal due to their convenience, product availability, ingredient purity and variety of flavors. This brand is easy to find at local retailers such as Kroger, Vons, Ralphs, Jewel, Albertsons, Whole Foods, Walmart, and Target. In addition, the company has a commitment to providing gluten-free products, and their oatmeal cups are certified gluten-free.
Best Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
With a low price and nearly 200 5-star reviews, it would be hard to find a better pick for rolled oats than One Degree Organics. They are certified gluten-free and organic while being amazingly affordable. Reviewers love the taste and the purity of these rolled oats, and they can be ordered online through Amazon, or you can add them to your autoshipment from Thrive Market to get them at a deeper discount.
Best Steel-Cut Oatmeal
Bob’s Red Mill steel-cut oats are also incredibly popular, certified gluten-free and organic. With a cook time of just 2-10 minutes, it comes in several different sizes and is also very affordable. Reviewers love the quality, flavor and texture. Bob’s Red Mill is a very trustworthy brand and easy to find at many stores including Randalls, Smart & Final, H-E-B, Sprouts, Vons, Trader Joe’s, Ralphs, Whole Foods, Target, Walmart and Kroger.
Best Flavored Oatmeal
For those who just can’t stomach plain oatmeal, Nature’s Path instant flavored oatmeal products are a clear winner. With more than 2 dozen flavored oatmeal products to choose from, you’re sure to find a flavor that works for you. From cacao to turmeric, all of their flavored oatmeal products are organic, and a majority of them are packed with superfoods.
Why Should You Eat Oatmeal for Breakfast?
Oatmeal is a great healthy way to start the day because it’s high in fiber and protein and contains many essential vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin E, and iron. As a filling breakfast option, oatmeal can help control blood sugar levels. In addition, researchers believe that whole-grain oatmeal is good for the heart and may even help lower cholesterol.
It’s relatively cheap, easy to make, and can be quickly spruced up with all sorts of extra ingredients such as honey, cinnamon, fresh fruit, or nuts. Oatmeal is great for use with all types of diets too — vegan, vegetarian, and even gluten-free. Many people enjoy making overnight oats for an even quicker morning meal.
Types of Oatmeal
There are several different types of oat products you can buy to make your delicious bowl of morning oatmeal. In the end, the type of oatmeal that works best for you is largely a matter of personal preference. Whole oat groats and steel cut oats are the healthiest but will take much longer to cook. Rolled oats and instant oats are quicker and easier to work with, but the texture and flavor will change as well. Instant oats can be minimally or heavily processed depending on the brand, and you will want to keep an eye out for added ingredients and flavorings.
Whole Oat Groats
Whole oat groats are minimally processed and have only had the hull removed. These are the purest form of oats straight from the harvest. Oat groats take longer to cook than steel-cut or rolled oats, but many people swear by their superior flavor and purity.
Steel Cut Oats
Steel-cut oats are oat groats that have been cut into smaller pieces for easier consumption. They are healthier than rolled oats because the endosperm is left intact. They are still minimally processed as the whole oats are only filtered, cleaned, and cut. Steel-cut oats have a great texture and flavor but still take a while to cook.
Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
Rolled oats are used primarily for instant oatmeal due to their convenience. Rolled oats are simply oat groats with the bran removed that have been processed into flat flakes by a roller. They are still very healthy and pure with no additives. Rolled oats can be prepared in a fraction of the time as oat groats and steel-cut oats.
Instant oats are simply rolled oats that have been processed to make cooking easier. They are typically flattened and then steamed or precooked. Most brands sell their instant oatmeal products prepackaged with different flavor options. Many conventional instant oatmeal packages have unhealthy ingredients like a lot of added sugar, so keep a close eye on your food labels when selecting an instant oatmeal product.
Is Organic Oatmeal Healthier and Worth the Extra Cost?
Organic oatmeal is healthier than conventionally produced oatmeal because it contains less pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and other toxic chemicals. In particular, most conventional oats contain glyphosate, an especially harmful herbicide that research has linked to cancer, kidney and liver damage, and even reproductive issues.
Selecting a product made with organic oats should drastically reduce or even eliminate the amount of toxic products you consume with your oatmeal. (100% elimination is difficult because of cross-contamination and the fact that many organic farms still use pesticides)
Considering that organic food options are becoming more popular and more cost-effective, any price difference you may encounter when purchasing organic oatmeal is well worth the extra cost. Think of it as a small investment in your family’s health!
Making healthy breakfast choices such as organic oatmeal will get your day off to a good start, help protect you and your family against toxic food additives, and nourish your bodies with a delicious and energy-boosting meal.
Shoppers should look for oatmeal products that are organic, non-GMO and free from unhealthy added ingredients. When in doubt, you can also look up the product in question in the EWG Food Scores database. With so many delicious healthy oatmeal brands to choose from and endless flavor combinations, you can’t go wrong with oatmeal for breakfast!