When taking on a new vegan status, you may be wondering which foods and beverages are compliant or off limits, and which ones are healthy fats. You may not be able to indulge in old favorite meals and snacks (peanut butter, brown sugar, dairy milk, etc), but that’s okay because there are often vegan-friendly swaps you can make (nondairy milk, pumpkin seeds, banana bread, coconut cream, old fashioned oats).
For breakfast lovers out there, you may be wondering … is oatmeal vegan? Determining if oatmeal is plant-based isn't as hard as you may think. In this blog post, we’re investigating whether oatmeal is vegan!
What Is Oatmeal?
Oatmeal is truly one of our favorite breakfast meals (Spice instant oatmeal, cream instant oatmeal, classic oatmeal, etc.). But if you’re unfamiliar with oatmeal or don’t often eat breakfast in the morning … we’ve got the scoop!
Oats grow well in mild-temperature regions in the United States and Canada. They’re able to withstand poor soil, making them a popular and easy-to-grow crop.
Oatmeal refers to the way oats have been prepared–they’re dehusked, steamed, and flattened. Ground oats are also called "white oats,” and steel-cut oats are known as "coarse oatmeal,” "Irish oatmeal" or "pinhead oats.”
You can make oatmeal by covering oats with liquid and heating them in the microwave or stovetop–easy peasy!
Oatmeal nutritional Information
Traditional Oatmeal is not only tasty … it’s good for you! Filled with wholesome ingredients, oatmeal is a filling, versatile meal perfect for breakfast, lunch, OR dinner.
Oatmeal (Oat grains)is nutritionally rich and has more protein than most grains. Plus, it contains many key minerals and vitamins. Oatmeal consists of several antioxidants and a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which aids many systems throughout the body.
Oatmeal is excellent for gut health, can lower cholesterol, improve heart health and blood sugar, and help maintain a healthy weight.
Is Oatmeal Vegan?
Oatmeal all by itself is indeed vegan. However, when you look to add liquid and toppings … it gets a little tricky because those choices aren’t always vegan.
Fortunately, there are a few easy ways you can determine whether your oatmeal, liquid, and toppings are vegan or not.
How To Know If Your Oatmeal Is Vegan
Ask at restaurants
It can feel awkward to ask your waiter or waitress to provide information on how a dish is cooked and what ingredients are inside (brown sugar, plain oatmeal, non-dairy milk, etc) … but we promise, they won’t mind! Don’t be shy; if you’re looking to make sure your oatmeal is made with vegan ingredients (chia seed, apple nut, plant milk, organic apple flax..) or non-vegan ingredients, it’s okay to politely ask.
And if you learn that the ingredients aren’t vegan, make a swap. For instance, if the oatmeal is made with animal milk, swap it for a vegan option, like oat, soy milk, or almond milk!
Check ingredient information
When browsing oatmeal options in the grocery store or online, reading labels is key! Keep an eye out for commonly used non-vegan ingredients. Some of them are sneaky! Some surprising non-vegan ingredients are honey, gelatin, and whey.
Avoid instant oatmeal
While standalone oatmeal is vegan, instant oatmeals (instant oats, Quaker instant oatmeal, quick cook rolled oats, quick oats,), often include non-vegan ingredients to add flavor (quaker strawberries, quaker cinnamon, quaker apples, quaker maple). This makes eating instant oatmeal a little difficult for vegan diets to navigate!
You’re in luck, though! Proper Good oatmeals are plant-based, meaning they don’t have any ingredients that are derived from animals (non-vegan ingredients). And therefore, a perfect solution for your vegan meal needs! Steel-cut oats are nutritious and filling, and our oatmeals are made gluten-free and dairy-free, too. Not to mention there’s zero prep involved (quick cook oats), so no waiting for the oats to soak!
Look for vegan-friendly brands and products
There are so many incredible brands devoted to making sustainable, vegan goods. If you’re dedicated to living a vegan-friendly life … there are a lot of places to turn! Come to Proper Good of course, but many other food brands support food brands that support the vegan lifestyle.
Things to avoid in vegan oatmeal
With so many oatmeal options out there, learning what ingredients to gravitate toward or avoid is crucial! Here are some common oatmeal ingredients that are not vegan.
As mentioned above, honey is a sneaky ingredient often in oatmeal that is not vegan. That’s because vegans avoid eating animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy, but also foods made from animals. Because honey is made from the labor of bees, vegans usually do not eat honey.
However, including honey or not in one’s vegan diet is a personal choice! There are several vegan alternatives to bee honey, including maple syrup or date syrup.
Milk and Butter
Since the vegan diet excludes animals and their byproducts, that means milk and dairy products! If you’re looking to make your oatmeal vegan, avoid animal milk altogether.
Different Kinds Of Oats: Are They Vegan?
As you browse the grocery aisles or online sales, you may be overwhelmed by the MANY oatmeal options available. But when considering how to fit oats plus liquid and toppings, you can try: shredded coconut, chia seeds, fresh strawberries, fresh blueberries, or even vanilla extract into your vegan diet, it’s key to know which oats are vegan, and which are not.
Steel-cut oats are the least processed type of oat. These oats are created when a full oat groat (or a large grain) is sliced into pieces with steel. This results in much of the bran remaining intact.
Steel-cut oats are vegan oats!
Rolled and Instant Oats
In contrast to steel-cut oats, fashioned rolled oats are flat. They have a flaky and soft texture, allowing them to absorb liquid easily. Others, such as quick oats, are precooked and dried. This removal of the outer bran affects the nutritional properties of oats.
Rolled oats on their own are also vegan oatmeal! Just make sure that the liquid and toppings that go with your regular rolled oats it is vegan-compliant, too.
For those on the vegan lifestyle, oatmeal is NOT off limits (hurray!), you can eat oatmeal. To summarize, just be sure to follow these steps when checking to see whether your oatmeal is vegan:
Ask restaurants for natural oat grain.
Check ingredient information
Look for vegan-friendly brands, vegan-friendly oatmeal recipes, and products
To learn more about oatmeal, check out this article to know if oatmeal is keto friendly.