Look, oatmeal is no one’s idea of ideal.
Sure, it’s healthy, wholesome, warm, nourishing, and all that jazz, but it’s also ugly. Those moist, lumpy, and occasional drippy beige chunks? Second only to canned tuna on my list of “tasty foods I’d swipe left on if Betty Crocker made a dating app.”
That’s why I’m giving props to Ideal Oats for trying to glamorize, or at least revolutionize, the classic breakfast with a face for radio. Billed as “Oatmeal, Reinvented,” Ideal Oats not only aims to help the fitness-conscious with 20g of protein per, but it also aims to overthrow the oatmeal aisle oligopoly of Apple Cinnamon and Maple Brown Sugar by bringing in never-before-seen flavors.
Needless to say, as someone whose recent exercise log primarily consists of long walks to the back of the grocery store to buy more Reese’s Cup coffee creamer, it’s the flavors that make most excited for this review.
All three cups featured below were sent to me by Ideal Oats, but I promise the freeness of the oats won’t influence my review. When it comes to peanut butter and bananas, I don’t lie: not after the infamous “Mario Kart PB&J Incident of 2008.”
I’m still finding tear-stained crumbs in my carpet.
Crunchy Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal
Of course I had to try this one first, as I love peanut butter and my bodily shape can only be described as “a stout banana.”
It’s recommended to only use boiling water with Ideal Oats to avoid microwave overflow, and I think that helps work textural miracles here. With the copious amount of peanut butter powder in the cup, the absorbent oats, after a brief incubation, come out at a perfect balance of warm mushiness. Whereas most instant oatmeal either comes out like earthen lava or sweetened igneous rock, PB Banana Ideal Oats are like whipped cake batter.
And 60% of the words in this flavor’s name are accurate too. It’s definitely oatmeal, and it definitely oozes peanut butter goodness. It’s a very roasted and oily, nearly malted peanut butter sweetness, the kind you’d find in a Clif Bar or homemade granola bar, and it’s a relief from the cereal aisle’s potent PB sugariness, but there’s a sad sense of loss, because banana (and crunchiness) is nowhere to be found—despite the dried bananas in the ingredients.
So while this is definitely a strong start in my review trilogy, I’m hoping the others have a more pronounced fruit flavor to balance the earthily roasted wholesomeness of the oats.
The Bottom Line: 8 magmatic mornings out of 10
Apple Cinnamon Streusel Oatmeal
Seeking to evolve the Apple Cinnamon gold standard rolled out by every rolled oat maven, Quaker or otherwise, Ideal Oats’ take on the flavor adds pecans to the mix.
And while it doesn’t end up reinventing the fruitily spiced wheel, this stuff smells like Apple Cinnamon Toast Crunch and tastes like Quaker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal if got experience points and put on some Lvl 48 Crunch Armor.
See, this stuff has the same syrupy apple compote fore-flavor, with warm (but not tingling) cinnamon sweetness on the backend, but with huge hunks of apple and nut, this stuff crunches while still remaining cozily mealy. I wish the pecans contributed a woodsy nuttiness, but their sacrifice for the betterment of texture still makes them worthy mouthfeel martyrs.
This flavor also suffers worse from something I noticed in the previous flavors: the deeper I get into the cup, the more the flavor fades into sheer toasted oats. This isn’t a bad thing, but it kind of feels like a metaphor for the loss of childlike wonder as one grows up.
Sorry, oats always make me existential. I Kant help it.
The Bottom Line: 7 Massively Multiplayer Oatmeal Role-Playing Games out of 10
Creamy Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal
Perhaps Ideal Oats’ boldest move, Creamy Chocolate Raspberry brazenly spurns traditional notions of what fruits should be covered in chocolate. Strawberries? Get outta here. Bananas? Look above, nerd. Espresso beans? Don’t you even…actually, that would be a great oatmeal.
Regardless, raspberries and chocolate aren’t a common pairing, and while I had high hopes for this oatmeal, I’m left flipped off-kilter by its unorthodox flavor.
See, the largely unsweetened chocolate taste is pretty bitter, and combined with the potently tart dried raspberry nuggets scattered throughout, this ends up being a properly puckering oatmeal cup that washes away its savory oaty base flavor in a sea of warm cacao.
There are some redeeming factors: sometimes the “natural brownie batter” flavor can be charming, and unlike other Ideal Oats flavors, the diluted dark Nesquik taste permeates every oat orifice, from top to bottom, but I’m left wishing for a touch of milk chocolate to give it a tempering sweetness.
You won’t tell the cops if I melt a Mr. Goodbar over the top, right?
The Bottom line: 6.5 sour chocolates out of 10
So all three Ideal Oats are pretty solid: they remove the textural failures and flavor unoriginality of conventional instant oats, infusing them with very potently real and novel flavors. As far as room for improvement, the stuff could better about even distribution of flavors: both between the different tastes in their names, and throughout the deep oat depths of each cup.
Since Crunchy Peanut Butter is the most tastefully dense, it wins my vote as the best, but oatmeal enthusiasts will definitely enjoy experimenting with any of them. Check out their website to learn how to buy.
Well done, Ideal Oats: now call me when there’s a cookies & creme one.