Oatmeal vs. Greek Yogurt
There are plenty of reasons to eat something first thing in the morning, even if you’re running late. Eating breakfast lets your body know that you’ll be eating throughout the day and you don’t need to save incoming calories as fat (Rush University). Many studies have shown benefits of breakfast, including lower fat consumption throughout the day, higher calcium and fiber intake, and better cognitive performance (Rush University). Oatmeal or Greek yogurt, either with fruit, can help start your day off right without adding much time to your routine, but which is healthier?
There are several types of oatmeal, including rolled oats, steal-cut oats, whole oat groats, and quick oats. While there are a few differences in nutritional content, each type of oat is a whole grain, with plenty of fiber and plant-based protein (Laseter, 2018). Quick oats are the easiest to incorporate into a busy morning, as they can be made in as little as a few minutes, either on the stove top or in the microwave, and with either milk or water (Quaker). One half-cup serving of dry quick oats, once prepared, will net you 150 calories, 3 grams of fat, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of protein, no sodium, and only 1 gram of sugar (Quaker). Instant oats are also a good source of micronutrients, such as iron, thiamin, phosphorous, and magnesium (Quaker). Adding fruits, nuts, or other healthy toppings to your oatmeal can increase your micronutrient and protein consumption, as well!
If you don’t have time to make your oatmeal in the morning, you can also try overnight oats, which can be made by combining rolled or quick oats, milk and yogurt (or dairy-free alternatives), and your desired toppings and letting them sit overnight. If you want to give overnight oats a try, check out these flavor suggestions!
There are also many types of Greek yogurt, with flavors to suit anyone’s palette. While flavors can add lots of sugar, with vanilla varieties containing up to four times the sugar of plain options, plain Greek yogurt can be made more exciting by adding fruit, nuts, seeds, honey, or many other toppings! One serving of plain, non-fat Greek yogurt is only 80 calories, with 0 gram of fat, 6 grams of carbs, 4 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein (Chobani). Greek yogurt is also a good source of calcium, as well as probiotics, which protect digestive health (Healthline). If you watch the sugar content, pre-made varieties with flavors, real fruit, or toppings can also be great, easy-to-grab options when you’re rushing out the door.
The Verdict: It's a tie! Greek yogurt is packed with protein, lower in calories, and can be grabbed on the go for a quick breakfast. Just make sure you watch the sugar content if you aren’t adding the toppings and flavors yourself! Oatmeal is a minimally processed, whole-grain option if you want a warm breakfast that provides plant-based protein and many micronutrients.