There's a Better Oatmeal brand in town -- Better Oats

My whole family loves oatmeal, but we have a sweet tooth the size of a T-rex's fangs. So even though I know the benefits of oatmeal and whole grains, I sigh when I see how much sugar is in the Maple Syrup flavor we buy, or even worse, the kiddie oatmeal versions with dinosaur eggs -- which are lumps of pure white sugar! So when the Better Oats company invited me to try out their new oatmeal and compare it with the regular brands we buy (an in-store brand and a nationally known brand that I won't mention by name, that rhymes with Shaker), I happily agreed. Here's what we thought of Better Oats:

The Basics
Better Oats is a new brand of instant oatmeal, which comes in 34 different varieties to suit all lifestyles and ages. Here's what Better Oats says about their products:

* All varieties are made with 100% whole grain oats and are naturally trans-fat and cholesterol free
* All varieties contain ground Flax seeds, which are a natural source of Omega-3 and a good source of fiber
* All varieties are packaged in an innovative built-in measuring cup pouch.

The Bongga
Better Oats has become my kids' favorite oatmeal brand! Here's why:

I love that Better Oats oatmeal has a slightly lower sugar content that the other brands -- 10, 11, 12 grams of sugar per serving for most of the ones I've seen, versus 13 grams or higher (can you believe, 20 grams of sugar for the Dinosaur Eggs oatmeal?). And adding the flax seed makes it healthier, and I feel fuller with less oatmeal.

There are so many interesting flavors, like Blueberry Muffin, Oat Heads Berry Blast (judging from the cartoon characters on the box, it supposed to be a kiddie flavor, but I love it), Chai Spiced, even Dark Chocolate. Some flavors really don't appeal to me, like the Chocolate, but The Pea says it's her favorite flavor. To each his own, I guess.

My kids love the cute cartoons on their Oat Heads kids line, but it's not just a pretty box. It saves space and it's made from recycled materials, too. And I love how they designed their pouch to serve as a measuring cup. Even my kids can pour water (or a mix of water and milk) until the dark fill line printed on the pouch. It's visible from the inside and the outside of the pouch, so you don't have to keep turning it back and forth while you're pouring water inside. And it's just the amount of water you need for the perfect bowl of oatmeal. Now my kids prepare their oatmeal all by themselves; all I have to do for them is transport the hot bowl of oatmeal from the microwave to the table. Score one for the lazy mom!

Given the high quality of Better Oats, I fully expected this product to be available only at gourmet stores or healthy, organic grocery stores, at a price premium. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found it at our local Safeway grocery store, for the same price as good old Shaker oatmeal! Every time I go to Safeway now I buy a couple of boxes of Oat Heads or Oat Fit because I'm paranoid that someone at Safeway is going to wise up to how good these products are, and raise the price.

The Blah
There are still some versions of our regular brand that we prefer to the comparable Better Oats version. For example, none of us liked the Better Oats Apples and Cinnamon flavor. But then again, we all preferred the Maple-Syrup flavored Oat Heads (the kiddie version of Better Oats) to our regular Maple-Syrup flavored brand oatmeal -- and the Oat Heads version is still lower in sugar (12 g per serving for Oat Heads versus 13 g per serving for our regular brand).

The Bottom Line
With its superior cost, nutrition and taste, Better Oats is going to become our "regular brand" from now on!

Disclosure: I received a product sample, but was not paid to review the product or give my opinions. Unless clearly stated, the views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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