Is Oatmeal Vegan Friendly?
It’s no secret that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Not only does it wake your body up, but it also gives you the fuel and energy you need for those early mornings.
One of the most popular breakfast options across the world has to be oatmeal. Known for being high in fiber and protein, this natural meal has been around for hundreds of years and is a staple meal in many countries.
Yet in recent years, this once traditional meal has been altered for people who require meals to be quicker and more convenient. These changes have led to various new ingredients being added to the mix to the point where most people aren’t sure what’s in their oatmeal anymore.
This raises the question: is oatmeal vegan friendly? Or have all these new ingredients made it something you should avoid?
To help you decipher the various brands and styles of oatmeal, we’re taking a look at how oatmeal is made, and what you should be looking out for on the packaging before you buy.
To start our journey, let’s start from the very beginning and learn about how oatmeal is made.
What Is Oatmeal?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, oatmeal is exactly what it sounds like, a meal that is made from oats!
Made from seeds of the oat plant, these seeds are then eaten either raw or warmed up to create a meal also known as porridge. To change the texture and sweeten the taste, many people often add milk or soymilk to their oatmeal to tingle their taste buds. Many people also include various fruits with their oatmeal such as berries, sultanas and bananas.
Oatmeal can be made in a range of different ways, that all depends on what type of oats are being used. Traditional oats need to be soaked overnight and are usually boiled in a pan to create the oatmeal. Other oats such as the modern instant oats are much quicker to cook and can be put into a microwave to speed up the process and make it more convenient.
The Different Type Of Oats
When it comes to oatmeal, there are various styles of oats that have been created over the years. From old-fashioned traditional oats to modern instant oats, these different types can have a big impact on if your oatmeal is a vegan or not.
To make sure you understand what the different names mean, here’s a quick overview of the different types of oats and how they are created.
Traditional / Old Fashioned Oats
These style of oats have been around the longest and are probably the oats you are most familiar with. To create these traditional oats, the hall is stripped off the old grains and then they are steamed and pressed flat with rollers. This process ends up producing oats with a great texture that people enjoy chewing.
Quick / Rolled Oats
Compared to traditional oats, quick oats are almost identical yet they are rolled much thinner and are partially cooked by steaming. This process helps shorten the time it takes to cook them. The oats still contain all of the natural goodness, they are just squished a lot thinner!
Steel Cut Oats
Steel cut oats are a smaller type of oats that have been cut with steel slicers. The unprocessed oats are cut into smaller pieces that are around the same size as grains of rice. Due to this cutting, these oats have a much chewier texture but also take a lot longer to cook.
However, by soaking the oats overnight beforehand, it can significantly help reduce the cooking time.
Not to be confused with quick oats, instant oats are oats that have been cooked and dried before being rolled thinner than quick oats. Due to this extensive processing, these oats are the quickest to cook by far with cooking times taking as little as 60 seconds.
In addition to this, many instant oats also contain extra ingredients such as powdered milk, whey protein, sugars, and sweeteners.
Can Vegans Eat Oatmeal?
From what you know about oatmeal now, if someone asked you whether it was vegan or not you would most likely say yes. But the correct answer is, it depends!
As mentioned above, there are various types of oats that are used to create oatmeal. Almost all of them are entirely natural and organic with just one exception: instant oats.
Many instant oats usually contain powdered milk and whey ingredients, which are obviously not vegan. Just take a look at the ingredients in this pot of Quaker instant oats below:
As you can see, it clearly lists whey protein isolate as well as stating it contains milk ingredients at the bottom. This is why it is essential to always check the packaging on any oats you buy.
If you stick to the traditional and less processed oats then they won’t contain any of these added animal byproduct ingredients. Not to mention, your meal will be a lot healthier as all of the natural goodness inside these oats won’t have been lost during the processing.
So is oatmeal vegan? Yes, it is, as long as you don’t fall into the trap of buying instant oats!
Instead, go for the traditional or rolled oats and add your own fruity toppings to make it your own.
Discover More Vegan Friendly Cereals
Looking for more delicious breakfast cereals to enjoy? We’ve got you covered!
Having spent years researching healthy breakfast options, we’ve compiled an ultimate list of vegan cereals and organic cereal brands. Save the time of having to look through endless lists of ingredients with our quick and handy guide.
No matter if you’re into muesli, granola, or you’re just looking for healthier breakfast cereals for your children, we’ve done all the hard work for you.