First thing I want to get out in the open is that buying oatmeal from anywhere but the grocery store makes practically no sense—you can very easily get one or more entire boxes of the stuff for the same price as one serving from a restaurant. This serving of oatmeal cost $2.45 at my local Starbucks; you will find similar prices across the board from quick service restaurants so this doesn’t affect the rating. It just so happened that I found myself hungry on a Monday and an empty box of oatmeal.
The oatmeal is 100% whole grain and comes plain with three topping choices: brown sugar, dried fruit, or nut medley. I ordered mine with the dried fruit option; although I do not believe they limit you to just one selection as the woman taking my order assumed I wanted “the works.” I was immediately suspicious that adding anything to the self proclaimed “Perfect Oatmeal” may make it less than perfect so I did some research before proceeding. The nutrition info (see below) for the plain oatmeal is solid, but what happens when you add the fruit? Starbuck’s website would like you to think that you’re improving the bowl by 7g of fiber but you should also realize that it will cost you an additional 100 calories and 20 g of sugar. After learning this I decided to only add half the packet of dried fruit, which seems to be a subliminal message in the promo pic above (see leftover fruit riding sidecar). Even half the packet of fruit improved the mostly bland base flavor of the plain oatmeal immensely giving it texture and sweetness.
It seems like the better choice, nutritionally, would be the nut medley. Although you will also add 100 calories to your oatmeal, you do not get all the additional sugar. I consider 240 calories and little to no sugar as a legitimate breakfast. The brown sugar topping boosts the calories by 50 and the sugar by 13g but really only provides a taste benefit.
As you may have read, oatmeal isn’t healthy by default at fast food restaurants. McDonald’s oatmeal ranges from pretty bad to awful depending on the options at the register. It’s nice to know that, in a bind, I can grab some oatmeal from Starbucks and have the opportunity to not turn it in to a Sausage McMuffin.
Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal: