Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Oatmeal is one of the few convenience foods I use. I confess, I buy rolled oats. I still soak them, as they are a whole grain, but I'm not sure how much good it does, since they are already partially cooked by the time I get them.
I've wanted to make the switch to steel cut oats, so I've been searching everywhere for the best price. Here are the best prices I have found for each kind of oat:
Quick Oats: $1.80/42 oz, $0.67/lb, Save-A-Lot
Old Fashioned Rolled Oats: $2.20/42 oz, $0.84/lb, Walmart
Steel Cut Oats: $22.95/25 lbs plus $11.20 shipping, $1.36/lb, Amazon
One serving of steel cut is a quarter of a cup, but a serving of rolled and quick oats is a half a cup. So, steel cut is cheaper, right, and we all live happily ever after? Well, no. They are priced by weight not by cup.
I found out that a quarter cup of steel cut oats is 40 grams. One gram equals 0.0022 pounds, so forty grams equals 0.088 pounds, or 1.4 ounces. One serving of steel cut oats costs $0.12.
Guess how much a half cup of rolled oats weighs. Forty grams. It is the same for quick oats. So a serving of quick oats is $0.058 and a serving of old fashioned rolled oats is $0.073.
It is one of the few foods I have found where the whole food costs more than the processed, although according to chow.com, even steel cut oats go through some heating and processing. The other whole food that comes to mind is milled four, which costs less than buying the grain whole and milling it yourself. Oh, and tomatoes, that are cheaper to buy canned and already cooked into a paste than to purchase fresh and cook them into a paste yourself.
I'm willing to pay an extra penny and a half per serving to get old-fashioned rolled oats, but I'm not willing to pay twice the price for steel cut.
Sometimes, health wins out over budget, like for ketchup, which I didn't even bother comparing in cost to store-bought. Sometimes budget wins out over health, like with oats.
In the comments, you can either share where budget trumps health for you, or you can explain to me why I am a horrible person for compromising my kids' health this way.