“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
As kids, this is what we would heard our parents tell us in the morning. And one of the most common breakfast meals we had to eat was oatmeal.
To this day, I would love to make oats almost daily. However, as I vegan, the question that needs to be asked is “Is oatmeal vegan?”
To address this question, the answer is it’s Yes and No! Oatmeal’s status as vegan-friendly actually depends on what state it’s in. If it’s a plain 100% oatmeal, then it is vegan. But if there are any add-ons, then its vegan status is questionable.
Where does oatmeal come from?
Oatmeal comes from hulled oat grains that are called groats. These are:
- Rolled (Thick or Thin)
- Ground/Milled (White Oats)
- Steel-cut (Coarse Oatmeal)
The word “oatmeal” is most often used in countries like the United States and Canada. It refers to a porridge made out of oats which are also popular in other parts of the world.
Oatmeal comes from oats which are considered to be one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods in the world.
Oats are classified as cereal grains that come from the plant Avena Sativa. They have been cultivated for quite some time but it wasn’t until the Christian era that references to oats as a cultivated crop were found.
However, it is also believed that oat porridge has been eaten for thousands of years. It has been considered as a traditional staple in English speaking territories like the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and as well as in some Scandinavian countries.
And of course, just like I have mentioned earlier, it is pretty popular in the US and Canada.
How Healthy Is Oatmeal?
As it is made of one of the most nutritious grains in the world, oatmeal is very healthy! And as a gluten-free whole grain, oats have so many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients such as:
Compared to other grains, oats are naturally rich in fiber and carbs as well as fat and protein. The fiber found in oats is called beta-glucan. It is known to help reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels, increase feelings of fullness and promote healthy gut bacteria.
There have been studies that conclude that the beta-glucan fiber found in oats helps in reducing the total and LDL cholesterol levels.
Oats also have very strong antioxidants such as avenanthramides that reduce blood pressure. According to Pharmacognosy Review, eating oats has been linked with a decreased risk of diseases like cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Rolled vs Instant
Now that we know that oatmeal is a very healthy food option, it’s time to get into the thick of things and find out which oat option you should be leaning towards as a vegan.
Rolled oats are oat groats that have been dehusked (the process of removing of husk), steamed and are then rolled into flat flakes. This is usually the type being used in making granola or muesli. In fact, they can be eaten without being cooked.
Rolled oats are usually soaked in a water-based liquid mix for about 1-6 hours, depending on the size and the shape.
Soaking the rolled oats can save you both energy and time because by doing so, you are able to preserve all the nutritional values in the oats that help maximize all the nutrients they contain.
Rolled oats are vegan, as long as they have not been mixed with other ingredients that may be deemed non-vegan friendly, then it’s all good.
Apart from rolled oats, another popular oat variety is instant oats. Instant oats are very processed as they are usually pre-cooked. They are then dried, rolled and pressed thinly compared to rolled oats. In terms of cooking time, the instant ones cook faster compared to the rolled variety.
In terms of being vegan-friendly, it depends on the type of instant oats you have. There are some variations that may contain dairy and other animal-based products, making them non-vegan.
For this, you will need to do a little bit of work, and check the ingredients in the label on the packaging of whatever product you are looking to buy.
Are Quaker Oats Vegan?
If there’s one brand synonymous with oats, it has to be Quaker Oats! Who is not familiar with its Quaker man logo?
Quaker Oats’ beginnings can be traced back to over 140 years ago. Over the course of its rich and long history, Quaker Oats has managed to become one of the leaders in oatmeal based products, from hot cereals to cookies and biscuits.
In terms of Quaker Oats being vegan, let’s look into the company’s definition of “vegan”. Quaker defines it as “a food or beverage that does not contain any ingredients or processing aids sourced from, produced or processed by animals”. Therefore according to the company, Yes, Quaker Oats are Vegan!
One the other hand, one of the most popular lines of products that Quaker has is its Instant Oatmeal. This line has several flavors under its belt.
Instant Quarter Oats - Original
Let’s start with what is perhaps the most sought-after variety – Original which is pretty much regular, plain old oatmeal.
Based on its ingredients, which you can see below, it make me doubt if Quarter instant oats are actually vegan.
- Whole grain rolled oats
- Guar Gum
- Calcium Carbonate
- Caramel Color
- Reduced Iron
- Vitamin A Palmitate
At first glance, you would automatically think that it is vegan. However, the sourcing of the ingredient Vitamin Palmitate is question.
Vitamin Palmitate comes from two sources – it could come from either animal or synthetic sources. If it’s derived from animals, then you know Quaker Instant Regular is out of the running!
If it isn’t, then consider this as a vegan option that you can easily whip in the kitchen.
Instant Quarter Oats So Simple
Another popular variety that might be only available in the UK is Quaker Oat So Simple. This type also comes in several flavors. Out of the current roster of flavors, it seems that the Honey Vanilla one is the only one that contains an animal by-product.
All other flavors are primarily made of rolled oats and other natural non-animal derived ingredients.
What Are The Best Vegan Oatmeal Brands?
There is more to oatmeal than Quaker! It’s just a matter of finding the best vegan options out in the market today!
To make things easier for my fellow vegans, do consider these vegan oatmeal brands the next time you drop by the supermarket!
This vegan and kosher product is 100% whole grain meaning it includes the oat bran, germ, and endosperm.
This product contains certified gluten-free oats and is one of several oat products from the brand that is tagged as vegan.
Made of premium Australian whole grain oats, this product is vegan and is fruit and nut free. Apart from the vegan Traditional kind, all other flavors from Carman’s Porridge Oats line are also vegan.
Made of Organic Whole Grain rolled out, Nature’s Path Original Oatmeal is one of several oat based products from the brand that is vegan.
Made with organic and gluten oats, the brand’s Organic Original Oatmeal is mixed with other ingredients that are categorized as superfoods such as the following:
- Amaranth flax
BONUS: To learn recipes that you can make with oatmeal that is vegan friendly, check out the video below!
Not Just For Porridge…
When we often hear oats or oatmeal, we instantly think of porridge. While that it a healthy and delicious option, there are so many things you can do with this super grain! And the great thing about this is that these recipes are often easy to make and to follow.
1. DIY Muesli
Make your own Muesli at home using all vegan ingredients! Preparing this ahead of time is ideal. All you have to do is toast your rolled oats in your oven at around 350F.
Once it cools, mix it with other superfoods such as chia seeds or quinoa. Or you can also add dried fruits! It is up to you!
When you’ve got them all mixed together, you can store it in an airtight container. When you’re ready to eat it, mix it with non-dairy based yogurt or milk!
2. Vegan Overnight Oats
Packed with nutrients and flavors, overnight oats is one of the many things you can easily do with your oats.
Before going to bed, you can prep your vegan overnight oats by mixing ingredients such as oats, chia seeds and almond milk with mashed bananas or other fruits.
If you feel like adding more, you can always top with other seeds and nuts in the morning.
Oatmeal is vegan, halleluyah! And if you want to buy instant oatmeal, you can find many vegan oatmeal options that you can choose from at the grocery store. Just remember to check the ingredients, as some brands do add animal-based products, such as dairy.
For some people (vegans included), eating oatmeal does not have to be bland or boring. If you want to customize your oats, you can do so as well! You can scour the Internet for many DIY suggestions that you can totally do in your own kitchen!
Do you have any healthy oatmeal recipes that you wish to share? Let us know what they are by leaving your comments below. And if you know someone who is looking for more info about vegan oatmeal, share this on their socials!