It goes without saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It helps to wake your body up and gives you the fuel and energy you need to begin the day. Oatmeal has to be one of the most popular breakfast options around the world. Given that we live in a fast-paced world, various ingredients have been added to this once traditional meal to make it suitable for those who want their meals quicker and more convenient. But has this made it to something you should avoid? If there’s one brand that’s popularly identified with oatmeal-based products, it has to be Quaker Oats. This brand has been around for over 140 years. And, with the changes mentioned above, let’s find out what’s in your Quaker oatmeal.
Is Quaker oatmeal vegan? Yes and No! At the base level, Quaker oatmeal is simply a product of the oat plant, which we can all agree is vegan. But that’s where the certainty ends. Any add-ons make its vegan status questionable. One of the most popular lines of products of Quaker Oats is the instant oatmeal. Some of the flavours under this belt have animal products or questionable ingredients that make them non-vegan.
Quaker is simply a brand, but oatmeal is exactly what it sounds like –a meal made from oats. Quaker oatmeal can be made in several different ways, depending on the type of oat you’re using. Traditional ones need to be soaked overnight and later boiled to create oatmeal. On the other hand, instant oats are much quicker to cook. Some people also include various fruits to their oatmeal. That being said, if you go for the traditional oats, you can rest assured that it’s vegan-friendly. But if you’re shopping for any flavour other than plain, you’ll need to check the ingredients list to determine whether or not it’s vegan-friendly. This article has covered everything you need o know about the vegan status of Quaker oatmeal and which types and flavours to keep away from your vegan diet. Let’s get right into it!
Is Quaker Oatmeal Vegan?
To help answer this question, we’ll start right from the beginning and look at the different types of oats that Quaker has.
Quaker Old-fashioned Oats
To create these oats, the hull is stripped off the oat grains, which then get steamed, pressed flat with rollers, and then flaked into the shapes we know. The end product has a great texture that people enjoy eating. There aren’t any added ingredients in the Quaker old fashioned oats –just simple, plain oats. Needless to say, this Quaker oatmeal is vegan-friendly.
The unprocessed oats are sliced into small chunks that are around the size of grains of rice. This gives them a much chewier texture. Mark the word ‘unprocessed’. With no added ingredients, this Quaker oatmeal is vegan-friendly.
Quick-cook Rolled Oats
These oats are almost identical to the traditional oats but are rolled much thinner and flatter. They are also partially cooked by steaming. These processes help to shorten the time it takes to cook. The oats are still nutritious and can be vegan-friendly.
These oats are cooked and dried first, then rolled thinner than quick oats to make them even quicker to cook. Instant oats undergo extensive processing and many contain extra ingredients like sweeteners, whey protein, artificial colours, artificial or natural flavours, and so on. These additional ingredients may be of vegan concern. There are so many flavours under this belt. I’ll cover a few popular ones to help you decide what you can add to your vegan diet:
Quaker original instant oatmeal
This oatmeal contains whole grain oats, guar gum, caramel colour, calcium carbonate, salt, reduced iron, and vitamin A Palmitate. Based on its ingredients, Quaker original instant oatmeal is vegan-friendly. However, vitamin A palmitate might be a questionable ingredient since it can be derived from both synthetic and animal sources.
Quaker cinnamon & spice instant oatmeal
It has the following ingredients: whole grain oats, salt, cinnamon and other spices, sugar, and natural flavour. There seems to be no animal product or by-product, which gives this flavour the vegan stamp of approval. The only controversial ingredients might be the processed sugar and the source of the natural flavour.
Quaker raisin, date and walnut instant oatmeal
The ingredient list for this oatmeal includes whole grain oats, sugar, salt, cinnamon, raisins, dates, and walnuts coated with rosemary extract. The only controversial ingredient is sugar. Other than that, it’s vegan-friendly.
Quaker maple & brown sugar instant oatmeal
Ingredients include whole grain oats, natural flavour, sugar, and salt. Again, no animal product here, but the source of sugar might be questioned.
Quaker apples & cinnamon instant oatmeal
This oatmeal contains whole grain oats, dried apples, natural flavour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. As you can see, there’s no animal product in this one either, so it’s vegan.
While several Quaker instant oats are vegan-friendly, there are just as many that aren’t. These flavours might contain eggs, honey, whey (a milk product), Vitamin A palmitate (might be derived from animals), and/or sodium caseinate (a milk product). Some of them include:
- Quaker strawberries and cream instant oatmeal
- Quaker dinosaur eggs instant oatmeal
- Quaker Blueberries and Cream instant oatmeal
- Quaker Honey and Almonds instant oatmeal
- Quaker Peaches and Cream instant oatmeal
- Quaker Peanut Butter and Honey instant oatmeal
- Quaker Pumpkin Spice instant oatmeal
What Else Should Vegans watch out for in Quaker oatmeal?
As we’ve seen, Quaker oatmeal contains a vast range of different ingredients, depending on the type and flavour. Some are clearly vegan while others are outright non-vegan. However, there are a few that are controversial. Veganism is a way of life that not only excludes the consumption of animal products or by-products but also strives to minimise animal suffering. These controversial ingredients cause animal suffering in one way or the other, which is why you need to look out for them when buying your oatmeal. They include:
Palm oil is extracted from palm fruit. Sounds vegan, right? But it might be one of the greyest areas for a vegan. There’s a growing demand for palm oil since it’s much cheaper to produce than animal fat. This has caused poorer countries to clear peatlands and forests to create more palm plantations. When forests are burned, animals die in the process. Deforestation has also led to the loss of animal habitat, not to mention, it has adverse effects on the environment. Given that most palm oil comes from South East Asia, where it’s grown under these conditions, a lot of vegans will not support a product whose growth encourages animal suffering.
Bone char, which is from cow bones, is sometimes used to remove impurities from sugar and whiten it. Strict vegans will avoid such sugar, while others don’t mind. Given that Quaker oatmeal is a large company, they source their sugar from many places globally. It’s impossible to trace where the sugar in your oatmeal came from and whether or not it was filtered with bone char.
This is the liquid that remains after milk has been curdled and strained. As a by-product of milk, it’s clearly not vegan.
Vitamin A Palmitate
This ingredient can be derived from synthetic or animal sources.
This can either be vegan or non-vegan
Even though artificial colours are not animal products or by-products, they are often tested on animals to determine how much is dangerous. Many vegans will avoid this ingredient as it promotes animal suffering.
Keep in mind that certain flavours can be bought in cups or boxes. Each packaging contains different ingredients so ensure what you’re buying is vegan-friendly by reading the ingredient list. Generally, stick to the boxes.
How Healthy Is Quaker Oatmeal?
Although people turn to a vegan lifestyle for different reasons, one this is for sure, they all gain health benefits. A vegan diet is often believed to be healthy, which is why I have to talk about the nutritional value of Quaker oatmeal.
This is one of the most nutritious grains in the world and as such, very healthy. It contains a lot of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients such as zinc, manganese, magnesium, iron, thiamine, selenium, and phosphorus. They are also an excellent source of fibre, carbs, healthy fats, and proteins. The fibre found in Quaker oatmeal is known to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels, promote healthy hut bacteria, as well as increase the feeling of fullness.
Additionally, they have strong antioxidants like avenanthramides, which have been known to reduce blood pressure.
In general, eating Quaker oatmeal can help lower the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer, just to name a few.
This meal has been around for hundreds of years and shows no signs of slowing down. It has become a staple food in most homes across the globe.
Not all kinds of Quaker oatmeal have the same benefits. The old-fashioned and steel-cut oats are less processed, therefore have higher nutritional value. Quaker instant oatmeal is highly processed and contains several artificial ingredients; as such, it gives the least amount of nutritional value.
Should You Eat Quaker Oatmeal On A Vegan Diet?
This certainly hasn’t been the most straightforward discussion, so I understand if you’re still confused. Let me try to sum things up for you.
First of all, Quaker oatmeal is made from oats, which are 100% vegan. Quaker old-fashioned oatmeal and the Quaker original instant oatmeal are both undoubtedly vegan. Some of the remaining flavours do add animal products while other include controversial ingredients such as sugar that has been processed using bone char, palm oil, artificial flavours and colours, and/or Vitamin A palmitate (can be derived from synthetic and animal sources). Just remember to check the ingredient list to determine what is or isn’t suitable for the specific vegan diet guidelines that you follow.
If you still have some reservations about Quaker oatmeal, you can simply make your own oatmeal at home. All you’ll need is plain oats and some maple syrup. You can also add various fruits to your oatmeal, including bananas, strawberry, raspberry, mango, apple, raisins, cranberries, etc. This will make your meal more nutritious and tasteful. With homemade oatmeal, you get to gain all the nutrients that this meal has to offer and you know exactly what is in your oatmeal –that everything in it is vegan-friendly.