I came across a nifty product at Whole Foods today. Uncle Sam now sells instant oatmeal in single serve packets. One kind has with flax seeds and crunchy whole wheat flakes. It contains only 130 calories, 5 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, no sugar, no trans fat, 3 grams of total fat (from the oats and flax seeds), and only 20 little milligrams of sodium (most plain oatmeals have more). Top with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts and fresh fruit, and you're good to go 'til lunch!
Another, Uncle Sam's Instant Oatmeal with Soymilk (in French Vanilla and Cinnamon Raisin) is made with dried soymilk and a bit of sugar (evaporated cane juice). Yes, soymilk! Now, I'm not a big fan of added sugar, but a serving of the Vanilla has just 1 1/2 teaspoons (2 1/2 if you opt for the raisin flavor, since raisins are a natural source of sugar). Better without extra sugar? Of course. BUT -- some folks just LOVE flavored instant oatmeal packets (you know the brand I'm referring to) and for them, this is a vast nutritional improvement. Plus, if you use soy milk in your oatmeal, you're getting at least this much sugar in your bowl. These soymilk flavors have only 160 calories, but also include the wheat flakes and flax, so they provide 3 grams of healthy fat, 5 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein, and 50 mg of sodium. Not bad!
Now, can you DIY (ie make plain oatmeal and add ground flax and whatever else) and save a bunch of money? Sure. But some people are happy paying for convenience, and for them, this is a great choice.