REVIEW: Quaker Chocolate Chip Instant Oatmeal

Quaker Chocolate Chip Instant Oatmeal

Oatmeal is healthy and wholesome.

Well, at least that’s what Wilfred Brimley and the guy who yells at fat people on NBC tell me. But just like wholesome Amish kids during rumspringa, oatmeal can get wild, crazy, and do unhealthy things as well.

For example, instead of using skim milk or water to make my oatmeal, I use melted ice cream and then top that with crushed Heath candy bar pieces, Hershey chocolate syrup. a small bag of M&M’s, and half a container of Cool Whip.

That sounds totally diabeteeriffic!

I can corrupt oatmeal to the point where you would have to start calling it ho-meal. But it appears Quaker has done the corrupting for me with their new chocolate chip instant oatmeal.

Okay, they haven’t really done any corrupting because there aren’t many semisweet chocolate chips in each instant oatmeal packet.

If you’d like to teach your child how to count using the chocolate chips in each packet, you’re going to have to open a number of packets to equal the level of learning your child will get from watching an episode of Sesame Street, because each one contains four or five chocolate chips. And they’re not big chocolate chips. They make the oats in each packet look bigger than they really are.

Quaker Chocolate Chip Instant Oatmeal Closeup

I made a bowl of Quaker Chocolate Chip Instant Oatmeal using vanilla soy milk and another using filtered water. Using filtered water is healthier, but using vanilla soy milk makes it taste better. But if you read on, that’s not saying much.

The chocolate chips take awhile to melt, and after they do, the oatmeal looks chocolatey. As you can see above, the liquid looks like the milk at the bottom of the bowl after eating Cocoa Puffs, but that liquid is a liar.

A dirty stinkin’ liar!

The chocolate flavor is almost non-existent. It has less flavor than the other Quaker flavored instant oatmeal varieties I’ve had. I wish Quaker had put a little hot cocoa powder in their Chocolate Chip Instant Oatmeal to make things tolerable. So it looks like, in order to get through the rest of the box, I’m going to have to make this oatmeal tolerable on my own with some cocoa power, semisweet chocolate chips, M&M’s, crushed Oreo cookies, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, chocolate sprinkles, crushed Butterfinger candy pieces, Hershey’s Kisses, and melted Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 packet – 130 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, 16 grams of other carbohydrates, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Quaker Chocolate Chip Instant Oatmeal
Price: $3.29
Size: 10 packets/1.23 ounces each
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Quick to make. Good source of whole grains. Rumspringa. Sesame Street. Decent source of fiber. Low in fat.
Cons: Really faint chocolate flavor. Really small chocolate chips. Not many chocolate chips in each packet. The liquid in the oatmeal is a liar, a dirty stinkin’ liar! Using the chocolate chips to teach your child to count won’t get him or her very far unless you open several packets.

REVIEW: Aunt Jemima Cinnamon French Toast Instant Oatmeal

Aunt Jemima Cinnamon French Toast Instant Oatmeal

Regarding syrup-topped breakfast items, if pancakes are the Britney Spears (sort of plain without all the fixins) and Belgian waffles are the Christina Aguilera (foreign-sounding and crispy), then French toast has got to be the Jessica Simpson of the three. In my book, French toast will be forever doomed to third place. However, if I see French toast on a menu coupled with the words “cinnamon” or “vanilla,” I will order it without hesitation. It’s like those two words make it magically different – it’s no longer stale bread in egg batter. It’s sweet, golden heaven on a plate.

This must be what the good folks at Aunt Jemima had in mind when they conjured up their newest entry into the world of store-bought breakfast, Cinnamon French Toast Instant Oatmeal. Along with their other new flavor, “Maple Syrup” (…thinking OUTSIDE the box, Aunt J!), they have attempted to provide us with a modest simulacrum of the griddle breakfasts they are known for, in porridge form. Previously, you had to choose between a vaguely religious figure on the Quaker Oats box and a vestigial icon of racialized domesticity on the Cream of Wheat box. Now with Aunt Jemima in the mix (which has been owned by the Quaker Oats Company since the 1920s), we’ve got a new smiling logo in town.

I immediately went for the Cinnamon French Toast flavored oatmeal because, yes, it added the word “cinnamon.” The Maple Syrup flavored one was a no-go. Why anyone would choose to eat a meal that is named after a topping rather than an actual food is beyond me. The bright red packaging is inviting, reminding me of the boxes of frozen pancakes, frozen waffles, and frozen blueberry pancake-wrapped sausage I’ve scarfed down in the past. The oatmeal comes in boxes of four and ten. The 4-pack is cheaper ($1.00!) but still yields portions that are a bit on the small side. However, you should be doing what every cereal commercial commands and eating this as PART OF A COMPLETE BREAKFAST. So shut up.

Aunt Jemima Cinnamon French Toast Instant Oatmeal In A Bowl

Overall, Aunt Jemima Cinnamon French Toast Instant Oatmeal tastes pretty good. There is a rich brown sugar and cinnamon flavor which gives it just the right amount of sweetness. It’s not diabetic coma territory, but we’re not in Bland Town, either. Preparation is extremely easy, but adding boiling water and stirring don’t allow the rolled oats to really grow. Instead, they stay mostly flat as they soak, so it lacks that really filling quality you’d find in other brands. The oats do get tender, though, and the cinnamon flavor is rather robust. It doesn’t exactly recreate the flavor of authentic French toast, but it’s close… and for what amounts to about 25 cents per bowl, it’s an easy pick on a cold winter’s morn.

So, for those of us who prefer our hot breakfast in a bowl, Aunt Jemima has provided us with a pretty decent initial foray into the highly competitive world of instant hot cereal. As she goes up against Big Daddy Quaker Oats and Cream of Wheat in our local grocery aisle, here’s hoping Aunt J. takes home more than the bronze medal. Everyone knows that Third Place = mom jeans, and nobody likes that.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 packet – 140 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 100 milligrams of potassium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of soluble fiber, 11 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, 4% iron, 10% phosphorous and 8% magnesium)

Item: Aunt Jemima’s Cinnamon French Toast Instant Oatmeal
Price: $1.00
Size: 4 count box with 1.34 oz packets
Purchased at: Price Chopper
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Delicious cinnamon. Tasty brown sugar. Marginally convincing French toast flavor. 25¢ per bowl. Easy prep. Part of a complete breakfast.
Cons: The Jessica Simpson of breakfast foods. Small portions. Rolled oats stay flat in water. Mom jeans.

Quaker Maple Brown Sugar High Fiber Oatmeal to Go

There’s the Antichrist and then there’s the Anti-Rice Krispies Treat, which I consider the Quaker Maple Brown Sugar High Fiber Oatmeal to Go Bar to be. Instead of giving me a moment of crunchy, marshmallowy bliss like I would receive with a wonderful Rice Krispies Treat, these fiber bricks bring despair. It’s not its taste that saddens me, although I’ll get to that in a moment, it’s the fact that I now have to change my diet to make up for my years of poor dietary choices by eating the recommended daily amount of fiber. If I could get 25 grams of fiber from energy drinks, potato chips, cocaine, and anything I can heat up in a microwave, I’d be set and regular.

Like Cliff Notes and Kim Kardashian trying to put on a pair of jeans, the Quaker Maple Brown Sugar High Fiber Oatmeal to Go Bar crams a lot into a small package. How high in fiber are these bricks of oatmeal? One bar has 10 grams of dietary fiber and six grams of soluble fiber, which is more than twice the amounts found in a 1/2 cup serving of plain Wilford Brimley-promoted Quaker Oats. Eating just one of these high fiber breakfast bars provides 40 percent of a person’s recommended daily amount of fiber. Consuming two of these high fiber bars at one time provides 80 percent. Devouring three of these bars in one sitting provides a good reason to stay close to a toilet.

The Quaker High Fiber Oatmeal to Go Bar is a dense, moist oatmeal cookie with a grainy and chewy texture that lets you know you’re getting 10 grams of dietary fiber and six grams of soluble fiber whether you like it or not. I enjoyed this big bar of fiber because it’s much sweeter and tastier than regular Quaker Maple & Brown Sugar instant oatmeal and you don’t need a spoon to eat it. Despite how sweet it was, the frosting drizzle on top seemed to be more for aesthetics than anything else. What does make them better, besides eating them nyotaimori-style, is warming them in the microwave for 10 seconds, which the packaging recommended.

However, not everything was so sweet with these Oatmeal to Go Bars. Two things that really freaked me out was the use of high fructose corn syrup, which is fine in moderation (but seems to be in everything), and the extremely long ingredients list, which had more items than a My Super Sweet 16 birthday party wish list. But overall it’s nice to be able to eat something that has almost half of my recommended daily intake of fiber, even if it does bring me to a state of despair.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 210 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 1 gram polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram monounsaturated fat, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 230 milligrams sodium, 150 milligrams potassium, 43 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams dietary fiber, 6 grams soluble fiber, 13 grams sugar, 4 grams protein, 20% vitamin A, 0% vitamin C, 15% calcium, 25% iron, 20% thiamin, 20% riboflavin, 20% niacin, 20% vitamin B6, 20% folic acid, 10% phosphorus, 10% magnesium, and 5 minutes spent with your favorite toilet)

Item: Quaker Maple Brown Sugar High Fiber Oatmeal to Go
Price: FREE
Size: 6 pack
Purchased at: Given by nice PR people, who continue to amaze me because they keep sending us stuff.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Sweeter and tastier than regular maple and brown sugar instant oatmeal. High fiber. Provides 40% of daily value of fiber. Convenient. Vitamins and minerals. Rice Krispies Treats. Eating these nyotaimori-style.
Cons: Grainy and chewy texture that lets you know you’re getting 10 grams of dietary fiber and six grams of soluble fiber whether you like it or not. Very long ingredients list. Brings me to a state of despair. Contains high fructose corn syrup. A My Super Sweet 16 wish list. Eating three of these in one sitting.