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McDonalds offers new Fruit and Maple oatmeal

New year, new breakfast option at McDonalds: the much-advertised "100 percent natural" Fruit and Maple Oatmeal is being touted as a "portable, affordable and balanced breakfast solution to help customers start their day right." Considering these are the same folks who invented the McGriddles, we were naturally skeptical when we stepped up to order.

The maple (side note: Vermont is pissed about the maple label) oatmeal comes in a paper tub and features apples, cranberries, and raisins sprinkled on top. For $1.99 you get 290 calories but a whopping 32 grams of sugars--to put that in perspective, a bowl of Lucky Charms has nine grams of sugars (thanks to a recent makeover by General Mills, that is). So does all that sugar add up to an impressive breakfast punch?

Despite the paper container's "Caution! Hot!" label, our oatmeal arrived a little above room temperature. The apples wavered between crunchy and mushy, though the cranberries and raisins were plump and flavorful. While one of our testers felt the mapleness of the oatmeal was too weak, another felt sufficiently maplefied. The oatmeal's texture was thick and gluey, which seems standard for your basic instant oatmeal--though no one could finish their (hefty) respective tubs.

This latest menu offering seems to be part of the chain's continued effort to compete with Starbucks, which saw a boost in sales once it began offering a $2.45 oatmeal on their menu in 2008. Caribou is also in the oatmeal race with its Very Berry oatmeal option, which comes with nuts, sugar, raisins and compote--and the 470 calories to prove it. With oatmeal's healthy image, McDonald's hopes it delivers the same sales boost Starbucks achieved--especially since it now offers the McCafe line of coffee beverages to entice Starbucks-goers.

But considering the fact that an Egg McMuffin is just 10 calories more than McDonald's oatmeal, which will you choose?


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