Starbucks' Oatmeal vs. McDonald's Oatmeal - Which one should you choose?

Starbucks' Oatmeal vs. McDonald's Oatmeal

January 27, 2011   37 Comments

Last week, I posted What You Need To Know About McDonald's Oatmeal. Immediately, I was asked about Starbucks' oatmeal.

Really? Ummm, I didn't know Starbucks served oatmeal. So, yesterday, I left my snow cave and ventured out to Starbucks and sampled their oatmeal.

Turns out that McDonald's "Undeniably Delicious Oatmeal" was rolled out to compete with Starbucks' "Perfect Oatmeal". Duh!

Before I get in to the oatmeal wars, I want to point out that the best way to get "Undeniably Delicious Perfect Oatmeal" is to make it yourself.

For a mere $1.20, I can buy a POUND of organic whole oats at my Stop-n-Shop in the bulk section. Here are two recipes for oatmeal:

Now, I will get off my high horse and address the fact that many of us simply don't have the time to make breakfast. So, which is better?

I wish I could point out to something that clearly distinguished them from each other - but, clearly, McD's took a page out of the Starbucks playbook and made almost the same oatmeal.

For example here are the ingredients for the base oatmeal:

Starbucks: whole-grain rolled oats (with oat bran), oat flour, calcium carbonate, salt, guar gum, caramel color, reduced iron, vitamin a palmitate, niacinamide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid.

McDonald's: Whole grain rolled oats, brown sugar, food starch-modified, salt, natural maple flavor with other natural flavor (plant source), barley malt extract, caramel color.

You can ask McDonald's to give you the sugar free oatmeal and then add your own sugar. The big difference above is that Starbucks adds some vitamins to their oatmeal. For example, you will get 50% of your daily value of Iron from Starbucks' oatmeal vs. McDonald's 10%.

The other ingredients are dried fruit (which both provide). But, McDonald's gives you fresh fruit in the form of a cut up apple and Starbucks gives you 100 calories of mixed nuts. Both are good additions to oatmeal.

The two biggest differences are:

  1. The price. McDonald's - $1.99 vs. Starbucks - $2.99
  2. The calories. McDonald's - 290 vs. Starbucks - 390

BUT, this is assuming you add all the nuts, berries, and sugar to the Starbucks' oatmeal. And, you can add some milk or cream to the Starbucks oatmeal at the coffee bar, which you can't do at McDonald's.

My suggestion is to try both and see which one you like better. I like the McDonald's one better because I liked their maple flavor.

Both oatmeals lacked the real OAT taste that you get from making your own and I found them both to be pretty bland.

Anyone else want to weigh in? I feel like I am "splitting hairs".

Please share your opinion on these oatmeals.


Other posts you might like:


starbuckseggb

A Surprise Finding, Starbucks Serves Breakfast Sandwiches

The relentless search for a decent egg breakfast sandwich continues with an entrant from Starbucks....


turkishbreakfastb

Top Ten Healthy And Yummy Breakfast Ideas

Snack Girl has a confession to make. She has snuck in lots of breakfast ideas on her "snack" website....



Get Free Email Updates! Yes please!


37 Comments:

For a person who lives on a McD's budget and not a Starbuck's budget, I have to go with McD's. :/

on January 27, 2011

Well thank you, Snack Girl. This was very helpful. I didn't realize you could ask for the sugar free version at McD's. Seeing that one is cheaper- and everything else is nearly the same- I will have to make the switch!

on January 27, 2011

I definitely prefer McDonald's oatmeal to Starbucks and I think it has everything to do with the fresh apple chunks (and probably the delightful maple flavor), but I also find it much creamier (Starbucks tends to be dry and clumpy). I do wish they would add nuts, but I pretty much always have walnuts or almonds handy so I just throw them in. The difference in calories between the regular and sugar free is only 30 calories. I'll walk a few extra steps and just go with the original!
I don't buy either often because I prefer to prepare my oatmeal at home, but it's nice in a pinch. And McD's offers oatmeal all day so if you need a snack, that's a better alternative to a lot of other on-the-go options.

on January 27, 2011

Are they the same size? That might account for some of the calorie difference as well.

on January 27, 2011

@Angela - that is a good point. They seem to be the same size - McD's is 9.2 ounces - and Starbucks doesn't list a total size. I think it is the nuts that make Starbucks a bit more high in calories - but those are nutritious calories.

on January 27, 2011

Snack Girl, I LOVE your blog! This is sooo helpful! My husband and me have a tradition of having McD's breakfast every Tuesday morning and I always get (in attempt to be healthy) the fruit and yogurt parfait and the egg mcmuffin no meat and I remove the top of the english muffin to cut carbs) Since i eat this weekly should I feel guilty or is this acceptable for someone watching what they eat?

on January 27, 2011

Try this - make oatmeal at home with flaxseed (gives it a nutty flavor) fresh fruit (blueberries or bananas work well) and raw slivered almonds. It is delicious and very healthy!

on January 27, 2011

Well, for the mere fact of cost...I would go for the McD's version, although if I was at Starbuck's grabbing a latte and needed breakfast, I would buy the Starbuck's oatmeal. I've eaten the Starbuck's version and thought it was a pretty good option for a fast food breakfast.

on January 27, 2011

I have to repeat - try the Jamba Juice oatmeal. It isn't instant. It is organic and the ingredients are oats and soymilk (you can get fruit toppings). If you get a smoothie, the oatmeal is 1 dollar.

on January 27, 2011

I just tried the McDonald's version this morning and really enjoyed it. I liked the fresh apple chunks! My main concern was the sugar content, though it was not as sweet as home instant Quaker and had a nice, mild maple flavor. The Starbucks version does have fruit, nuts and brown sugar, but it only comes with two of the three toppings. I went for fruit and nuts. Yes, it was blander, but it was good. I was skeptic about Starbuck's outmeal when I watched the girl tear open the little bag (like instant Quaker Oats), pour it in the cup and add boiling water without measuring. For $3, I expected a vat of oatmeal that they'd spoon out. So much for that... For taste, I prefered McDonald's and am thrilled to have a healthier option for breakfast without leaving my car or spending $5 on a cappuccino. Yeah, I'm just lazy like that...

on January 27, 2011

I echo @Lyn Jamba Juice has steel cut rolled slow cooked oats. The calories range from 220-340.

on January 27, 2011

I do not like instant oatmeal that you buy on the grocery shelf, however I worked at Starbucks and felt that I could not recommend it without tasting it myself. For instant oatmeal Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal is quite good. I do agree that it lacks the oat taste of cooked oatmeal. Because I have the "time" and I prefer cooked oatmeal I have not tried McDonalds.

on January 27, 2011

I haven't tried the McDonald's oatmeal, but I didn't care for the Starbucks. It seemed to mushy to me, almost like instant oatmeal. Honestly, I prefer old-fashioned oatmeal made at home.

on January 27, 2011

You sure you don't want to compare the Jamba Juice Oatmeal next? ;)

on January 27, 2011

I will preface this by saying I have not tried McDonald's oatmeal because I only go to McDonald's in emergencies (read, on the road and need something to drink or a bathroom!) It smells too much like their food. I may buy a few hamburgers a year--but I'll get those at In n Out, not where they're kind of artificial. (I'm not big on meat or its smell--I eat "white" meat once or twice a week and red meat 4-6 times a year.)

That said, I think of oatmeal as part of breakfast, and that includes coffee or tea--usually coffee out, either at home... and McDonald's coffee is absolute swill. They may have tried to upscale their coffee but it still tastes like used dishwater to me. You can actually get good coffee at Starbucks (and I don't mean Pikes Place--I dislike that too, only like their bold coffees and Americano's really.) On the other hand, Starbucks VIA instant is really good so if I had to on a road trip, I suppose I could carry that with me and go to McDonald's for oatmeal and hot water...

I do like the nuts in Starbucks oatmeal. I don't like real sugar so it's good to know you can omit that at McDonald's.

By the way, if you want instant oatmeal at the office, erewhon makes wonderful maple oatmeal--it's not made with sugar and flavoring, they actually dehydrate maple syrup--what a concept.

on January 27, 2011

There is no Jamba Juice near where I live so I guess I will have to take everyone's word on it.

on January 27, 2011

Here in Vermont McDonald's has to serve real maple syrup with their oatmeal rather than the "natural maple flavor" (which is not from a maple tree at all but some shrub related to maples.)

Anyway, I'll go with Micky D's if I don't make oatmeal at home since I like real maple syrup a lot.

on January 27, 2011

At first glance McDonalds seems more processed with sugar and starch added to the pats. It's also higher in sodium and sugar. My vote for starbucks (or homemade).

on January 27, 2011

Love the PB & apple oatmeal recipe idea--thanks!

And McDonald's has been trying, haven't they? Considering many would want to buy a coffee along with their oatmeal, the price point of the McDonald's oatmeal breakfast is a nice alternative to Starbucks prices.

But oh, the wasteful packaging of both...

Here are some more ideas for a quick, nutritious (& cheap!) oatmeal breakfast, for home & on-the-go: http://goo.gl/7be9c

on January 28, 2011

Thanks for the info. Snack Girl! I also appreciate hearing that McDonald's has oatmeal available all day-I'm often out and running around at lunchtime, and it's another healthier option. I have only had the oatmeal at Starbucks once, but thought it was decent, for fast food. I was told I could have any/all of the three options for brown sugar, fruit or nuts for the same price. Thanks also for the info. about the Erewhon (sp?) instant oatmeal-I'll be looking for that in my area, as I love maple syrup, but hate the maple "flavoring". Thanks everyone!

on January 28, 2011

I'm eating my McD. oatmeal as I type. Yum! I eat it without the apples though. They will leave those out if you prefer, like me. I'm not much of an apple person. The other fruit is good in it though.

on January 28, 2011

I enjoy the Starbucks one. Not sure if it's because I can eat out on their patio in the summer (as long as people are not smoking out there) or if it's the fact that it's easy to take on the go and make at my desk. I have not tried the McDonalds one but I will sometime soon. I prefer to make my own oatmeal at home (with real maple syrup) or at work in the packets from Whole Foods. Once in a while though I do like the Starbucks one. :)

on January 28, 2011

Lisa, thank you for the information!
Regarding unit size, Starbucks does list a size: 38 grams. I'm sorry but you're the one with a PHd, not me! I am assuming 38 grams is approximately similar to 9.2 oz.

but my actual question was which one puts more chemicals:
whole-grain rolled oats (with oat bran), oat flour, calcium carbonate, salt, guar gum, caramel color, reduced iron, vitamin a palmitate, niacinamide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid. This is the ingredient list off of Starbucks. I'll post the nutritionals on Blue Bell mini fudgepops too, I guess that is a regional brand like Edy's Dreyers as they are based out of Texas. Thank you again for the very helpful information about the oatmeal, nutritionally speaking it would appear that Starbucks is less fussed around with, at 140 calories thank you for the idea about creamer, I find perfection for me is I keep a container of french vanilla creamer at my desk at work and just stir a table spoon into my brown sugar Quaker oatmeal. If the comment about Starbucks just using regular Quaker oats, I"m okay with that since I don't go out to breakfast but maybe three or four times a year! Also thank you to the other commenters for the great insight!

on January 29, 2011

I live in Canada and Tim Hortons also started selling oatmeal, I looked and it's 220 calories

on January 30, 2011

this is how it's advertised

Try our new Homestyle Oatmeal in Maple or Mixed Berries. It's slow cooked, the way you would make it at home and it's whole grain, low in fat, and high in fibre.

on January 30, 2011

I just tried McDonald's oatmeal and ended up throwing half away. I didn't realize you have to indicate that you DON'T want added sugar and toppings. The apple was good, but I didn't care for the dried fruit and the sugary taste was too overwhelming.

Long live Starbucks. ;)

on January 31, 2011

Good to see there is a lively discussion about oatmeal! I tried McD's yesterday. First impressions after opening the lid: Why is it so runny and why is the oatmeal all cut up in tiny fragments? Going beyond aesthetics, I tasted it. Flavor was okay, clearly not as good as I make at home. Apples tasted like apples that are prechopped and stored. All in all I was going to declare the oatmeal as adequate as an emergency alternative to skipping breakfast...until I read the nutritional info on the container. I was stunned!!!! How in the world could oatmeal contain 10 my of Cholesterol!!!! My husband and I have been eating oatmeal regularly for two years and have successfully lowered his high cholesterol through diet alone. When I goggled the ingredient list I found that they add an ingredient called "light cream" which contains cream and milk as well as some other chemicals and ingredients. So for my purposes, McDonald's oatmeal it not only minimally palatable, it is nutritionally unacceptable. So while McDonald's has provided a healthier alternative for the millions who consume their other products, for those of us who already partake in eating right, it falls dreadfully short of what we are looking for.

on February 4, 2011

Good to see there is a lively discussion about oatmeal! I tried McD's yesterday. First impressions after opening the lid: Why is it so runny and why is the oatmeal all cut up in tiny fragments? Going beyond aesthetics, I tasted it. Flavor was okay, clearly not as good as I make at home. Apples tasted like apples that are prechopped and stored. All in all I was going to declare the oatmeal as adequate as an emergency alternative to skipping breakfast...until I read the nutritional info on the container. I was stunned!!!! How in the world could oatmeal contain 10 mg of Cholesterol!!!! My husband and I have been eating oatmeal regularly for two years and have successfully lowered his high cholesterol through diet alone. When I goggled the ingredient list I found that they add an ingredient called "light cream" which contains cream and milk as well as some other chemicals and ingredients. So for my purposes, McDonald's oatmeal it not only minimally palatable, it is nutritionally unacceptable. So while McDonald's has provided a healthier alternative for the millions who consume their other products, for those of us who already partake in eating right, it falls dreadfully short of what we are looking for. 

on February 4, 2011

To be honest I would choose neither one. Oatmeal is just too easy to make yourself at home. I prefer the regular oatmeal and not the instant.

on February 4, 2011

I hate both of them. I first tried Starbucks and realized it was nothing more than insant oatmeal. I then tried McDonalds which was so watery and nasty smelling, I couldn't wait to get it out of my car. Yuk!

I love the stone cut oatmeal from Jamba Juice. My daughter and I eat it on a regular basis. It may be more expensive...but so worth it.

on February 9, 2011

I have to say I am in LOVE with the Tim Horton's Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal.

They cook the oatmeal for 45 minutes and I like the bigger oatmeal pieces rather than if I had just brought a package of the instant stuff from home. Thanks you Tim Horton's you have me hooked on the stuff... when I want a warm morning pick me up :)

on February 21, 2011

NY Times article on McDonald's oatmeal, comes to the same conclusion as Snack Girl: it's not good for you!
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/how-to-make…

on February 24, 2011

Looks like Starbucks is not gluten free with the barley, it is so difficult to get breakfast snacks on the run for kids. Looks like McD thought through this one.

on March 15, 2011

FYI, McOatmeal should probably be avoided...

http://calorielab.com/news/2011/03/03/mcdonalds-oatmeal/

on March 27, 2011

I am addicted to Tim Horton's Oatmeal with mixed berries. I have been searching for tips online that might help me make it at home to duplicate the recipe...or close. No success so I'll continue hitting the drive through until I do.

on April 6, 2011

comment1, http://haplyeverafter.com/Acomplia.html acomplia diet rimonabant smoke, 674763, http://haplyeverafter.com/Lexapro.html effexor lexapro taken together, 964915, http://haplyeverafter.com/Effexor.html effexor generic, ievoou, http://haplyeverafter.com/Prednisolone.html prednisolone acetate ophthalmic suspension usp, yjvdw,

on September 2, 2011


Comments are closed for this page

Welcome!

I'm Snack Girl and my website is devoted to becoming healthier. I create recipes, review food products, and support those on a healthy journey.


 

Subscribe to Snack Girl's Free Newsletter

New subscribers get our exclusive list of 100 healthy snack ideas &


© 2019 Snack-Girl.com