Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New: Oatmeal at Caribou Coffee

Wednesdays are my busiest day of the week. On a normal day, I work until 3:45 PM and then try to squeeze in a workout and dinner before choir practice at 5:30 PM. Somedays, like today, I am unable to leave work on time and end up sticking around the office until 4:15 PM (or later). On days like today, I am faced with the perplexing conundrum: drive 20 minutes home from the office to only be there for 30 minutes, which is enough time to make myself some oatmeal for supper and get in a 10 minute yoga session, then turn around and leave for choir practice. What's a girl to do?

Many days I end up going to Starbuck's to pick up a bowl of their oatmeal (and sometimes a nonfat latte) and sit down to read a book or the paper. However, I really would prefer to go to Caribou, because they have free wi-fi and I could spend my time blogging and catching up on personal email, facebook, twitter, etc. So, as you can imagine, when Caribou announced that they were going to follow suit and start offering oatmeal, I was SUPER excited.

Right now I am enjoying my own custom oatmeal creation: classic oats made with skim milk topped with a dash of cinnamon.

Usually in a situation like this, I would prefer to research the oatmeal ingredients and options offered online and then make my trek to Caribou for a taste test; however, today I was freestyling. Unfortunately, because oatmeal is such a new offering, the Caribou employees didn't know much about the available options, so I was left making ingredient/cleanliness assumptions.

There are 2 oatmeal blends: oatmeal and 7-grain oatmeal blend. The flavors available are Classic, Maple Brown Sugar Crunch, Very Berry, Apple Cinnamon and Cranberry Orange. You also have a 3 milk options: skim, 2% and soy. I chose the Classic Oatmeal version because all of the other topping options sounded like they would be full of sugar and after perusing Caribou's nutritional information online, my assumption was correct. The following is the nutritional information and ingredients for the Classic Oatmeal that I tried. I wish that I would have known that they add soy protein to the oats when they make them because I would have asked for my oats without it.

Overall, I really liked the flavor of the oatmeal, it was cooked to perfection and served at the right temperature; Starbucks' oatmeal tends to be too hot. I also liked that the Caribou oatmeal tasted fresh made, the Starbucks oatmeal tastes like it is made ahead of time and simply kept hot all day in a slow cooker/steamer. However, I could have done without the sweet vanilla flavor of the soy protein, I found it to be a bit overpowering; however, if I was enjoying the oatmeal on its own, it helps to make it a more complete clean eating meal including both complex carbs and protein, which I like.

For the sake of comparison, the following is the Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal nutrition info and ingredients from their website. From the weight of the serving size, I assume that this is for the dry mix only. Unfortunately, I am not sure if Starbucks makes their oatmeal with milk or water, I will have to ask next time that I stop in. If it is made with milk, this would increase the calories, fat, carbs and protein dependent upon the milk choice.

I would also like to try Jamba Juice's Plain 100% steel cut oats (without the brown sugar crumble). Has anyone tried it? If so, what did you think? The following is the nutritional information and ingredients.


Maxine said...
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Maxine said...

I like the Jamba Oatmeal but I haven't tried Starbucks or Caribou's, that being said I only get it when I am travelling for work because I can't make my own :)It tasted pretty bland without the sugary toppings though so I toss in some dried cranberries or goji berries. I do prefer steelcut oats over rolled...The Jamba oats keep me full for about 2-2.5 hours.

Bridget in NM said...

Thanks for tracking down this info for us so we can make good eating decisions when time is crunched!

Anonymous said...

Starbucks does not make their oatmeal ahead of time. It is instant oatmeal in a packet, just like any packet oatmeal you can buy at the store. They simply open the packet, dump it in the little paper bowl and add hot water to it. If you watch them make it behind the counter, you can clearly see this process.

Despite this, I do like Starbucks oatmeal for a quick meal when I don't have time to make my own. A little overpriced for convenience but hey, it is what it is.

I would like to try Caribou, so thanks for posting the review. It does seem higher calorie-wise due to the milk & soy protein powder.

Either way, oatmeal is good for you, so I am glad both places are making it "trendy" again.