McDonald's New Apple Cinnamon Walnut Oatmeal

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[Photograph: Jessica Leibowitz]

Last year McDonald's stepped up to the oatmeal scene with their Maple and Fruit oatmeal. The flavor is still available, but now joined by another: Apple Cinnamon Walnut Oatmeal. While McOats should be a good thing for the world (more oats = a good thing), don't expect a stovetop-cooked texture or steel-cut sophistication.

"Wholesome Meets Delicious...it's lip-smackingly scrumptious" says the little tub in which it's served. Lip-smackingly, eh? Oatmeal is one of the world's simplest, cheapest, healthiest, and yeah arguably lip-smackingliest foods but McDonald's is just serving instant oatmeal. You'll see them emptying brown pouches of oat flakes into the cup, adding hot water, then stirring in other miscellaneous pouches of toppings: walnut choppings, apple chunks, and sugar.

If you eat it as soon as they hand it to you, it's an oat-brothy soup. As with all instant oatmeal, the flakes need time to puff up and fully form. When they do, they're pretty pasty and gummy. Not ideal for oat-texture but thankfully the Apple Cinnamon Walnut wasn't as sweet as the Fruit and Maple we tried, which was teeth-hurtingly sweet.

The toppings are mostly fresh-tasting: the apple slices are tangy and crunchy, not dehydrated little flecks, and there's an ample amount of walnut chunks, enough to score one in each spoonful.

The oatmeal has 270 calories (note: an Egg McMuffin has 300). This isn't going to win any oatmeal blue ribbons and you can get the same results for much cheaper from storebought insta-oats. But if you're at McDonald's and looking for something slightly wholesomer than hash browns dunked in ketchup, it's there.

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