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Giveaway Winner and Random Sunday Musings

Posted Feb 28 2011 12:00am

Hi Everyone! I hope all of you are enjoying the weekend – I definitely am! We were supposed to get horrible weather in the Bay Area this weekend – rain, freezing cold – even the potential of snow (which I have to admit would have been pretty cool). I’m not sure what happened – but it’s been nothing but sunny and gorgeous here (still chilly but nowhere near what the forecast was predicting!) And this sunny, springtime weather has put me in kind of a lazy, rambling mood. I’ve never done a post like this before – where there are multiple, unrelated foodie topics – so I figured I’d try it out today.

First off – I have to announce the winner from my Fearless Chocolate giveaway Congratulations to Bobbie!!

Bobbie – your chocolates should be on their way soon. Thanks to all of you who entered! And just so you know – I’ll be launching my next awesome giveaway this Friday – so stay tuned :)

Now, on to my random musings for this Sunday. First – let’s talk about fast food oatmeal. It’s an interesting trend – but more and more fast food restaurants are adding oatmeal to their breakfast menus – the most recent addition coming from McDonald’ s.


The most interesting thing about this newest oatmeal addition was the chatter and criticism over how unhealthy the oatmeal actually was. For those of you who haven’t seen Mark Bittman’s article: How to Make Oatmeal…Wrong – definitely check it out here . The sad thing is, he’s 100% right. Somehow, McDonald’s did manage to make oatmeal unhealthy, and I can’t begin to figure out why.

So let’s start with the basics – why is McDonald’s oatmeal unhealthy?

So yes, all of this really sucks, and it’s disappointing that McDonald’s didn’t try harder to make a healthier oatmeal like other fast food restaurants (more details on that below). But – to give a balanced review – I have to call out a few things about McDonald’s oatmeal that are somewhat redeeming:

What really gets me about all this: if you are just a normal consumer who assumes oatmeal and the toppings that come with it are healthy – you could unknowingly walk into a breakfast that causes you a sugar high & crash every day: the 30g of sugar in the fully loaded oatmeal guarantees it. And while the total caloric count (oatmeal + all toppings) isn’t outrageous (it’s only 290 calories total) – the nutritional bang for your buck isn’t great. I just feel like unless you do research and know your nutritional labels inside & out – a company like McDonald’s could totally dupe customers by introducing a “pseudo healthy” product. Which is why I felt the need to post about it today. I guess you have to give them credit for “trying,” – but even in their efforts to try they kind of get it wrong.

The good news is: there are FOUR other great fast food oatmeal options out there that actually are healthy and don’t have random ingredients added.

First up – Starbucks

This has to be one of my favorite fast food oatmeals because: 1) Their “base” has 0g sugar, 140 calories and 4g fiber. It’s instant oatmeal – which isn’t ideal, but better than oatmeal with tons of sugar added. 2) All of their toppings come in 50-100 calories packs – and you can add as much as you like: I suggest adding the nuts for extra fiber/protein, and skipping most of the dried fruit which has 20g sugar (ridiculous).

Our next fast food oatmeal star – Jamba Juice

This oatmeal option is probably the best one – because it’s made with steel cut oats! And the “Plain Oatmeal with Brown Sugar” has only 4 ingredients: Steel cut oats, soymilk, and brown sugar crumble (which you can ask for on the side, or eliminated altogether). The steel cut oats base only has 220 calories, 5g fiber and 8g protein. The brown sugar crumble has 7g sugar and 40 calories (which isn’t too bad).

Two other good options: AuBonPain and Cosi’s

ABP’s small (8oz) oatmeal has 170 calories, 1g sugar, 4g fiber, and 6g protein – and only 2 ingredients: Water and Rolled Oats.

Cosi has steel cut oats as well! And their serving has 220 calories, 4g fiber, 5g protein and 3g sugar. They have a crazy list of toppings – some of which are super unhealthy (like the dried fruit or whipped cream) – but all of them come on the side. And they have two great healthy toppings – pistachios and strawberries.

So while the McDonald’s version is deceptively unhealthy, there are plenty of good fast food oatmeal options out there – which is good news! It is sad though that consumers have to do so much digging to get to the bottom of what’s actually in the food we buy.

Which brings me to my next topic: I was recently contacted by a site called Food Facts – whose mission it is to eliminate confusion about what’s actually IN the foods we eat, and create a centralized resource for all the food information you could want! Check out their site here , and a video overview here .

I really applaud the work they’re doing and was happy to partner with them on a few things (since our sites have very similar missions). I’d definitely recommend touring their site for any food related questions you have.

And as I move on to my last topic, I’m acutely aware that it’s midnight and I have to wake up early for work tomorrow. So, I feel like a very appropriate last topic is my issue with getting enough sleep every night. Do any of you feel like you don’t sleep enough during the work week? I’m the type of person that actually needs 8 hours of sleep every night. When I’m well rested, I will wake up every morning after 8 hours of sleep like clockwork. The only trouble is, during the week I get about 6-7 hours (usually closer to 7). While that’s not bad – I feel like that’s still not enough sleep for me, because I always feel like I’m making up for lost sleep on the weekends.

So as I sign off tonight – I’ll leave you with two questions: 1) How much sleep do you usually get every night? and 2) Do you have any tips for me to make my sleep schedule more regular?

And with that, I think it’s my cue to head to bed. Happy (early) Monday everyone!

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