Is there any brand that takes you back to childhood snack time quite like Little Debbie? The iconic oatmeal creme pies were a household staple for many families, and what adult can resist one even now? But what does the Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie's nutrition look like?
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Examining a Childhood Favorite
Little Debbie snacks started with its signature treat, the Oatmeal Creme Pie, back in 1960. Manufactured and marketed today by the McKee Food Corporation, Little Debbie products continue to be popular. As the marketing emphasizes, the Oatmeal Creme Pies feature "irresistible" creme filling between two soft cookies made with whole-grain oatmeal and molasses.
But what if you were to take a harder look at some of those Little Debbie snacks ingredients or at the Oatmeal Creme Pie calories? Well, based on the marketing, you might assume that a Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie has nutrition value to some extent — after all, oatmeal and molasses offer some dietary benefits.
According to the USDA, a quarter-cup of uncooked oats has 150 calories with 4 grams of fiber and nearly 7 grams of protein. It also provides a healthy dose of iron, magnesium and zinc. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health even hails oats as being good for preventing heart disease and diabetes, managing weight and improving digestive health.
Molasses derives its 58 calories per tablespoon entirely from sugar, but it does provide small amounts of a few important minerals: That single tablespoon has 3 percent of your daily value of calcium, 5 percent of your daily value of iron, 6 percent of your daily value of potassium and 12 percent of your daily value of magnesium.
But the Little Debbie snack ingredients don't list these two ingredients as prominently as you might expect based on the marketing. According to USDA FoodData Central, whole-grain oats are fifth on the ingredient list after corn syrup, enriched bleached flour, palm and soybean oils and dextrose. Molasses is eighth on the list after water and sugar.
Comparing Oatmeal Creme Pie Calories
As far as the Oatmeal Creme Pie's calories go, one cookie has 310, which come from 11 grams of fat, 50 grams of carbohydrates (half of which is sugar) and 2 grams of protein. How does that caloric breakdown compare with other Little Debbie snacks?
Take a look at two other popular products: Swiss Rolls and Zebra Cakes. The Swiss Rolls are slightly lower in calories at 270, but higher in fat (12 grams) and sugar (26 grams). The Zebra Cakes have more calories (320) as well as more fat (14 grams) and sugar (32 grams).
If Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie's nutrition has you turned off, don't despair — you can make a similar treat in your kitchen at home and improve on the Little Debbie snacks with ingredients that are actually good for you!
If you're in the mood for oatmeal raisin cookies, there are easy ways to make much healthier versions. These five-ingredient oatmeal raisin cookies use ground oats instead of refined wheat flour, so you get a boost of fiber and protein.
They also use bananas as a binder in place of eggs, thus lowering the calorie and fat content. They're even great if you're impatient about snacks, as they take only 20 minutes to make.
Cleveland Clinic even lists a vegan recipe for oatmeal-maple and raisin cookies that include oat milk and milled flax seeds.
But if it's the creamy filling you want, don't worry. Instead of the overly processed creme filling, you can make a fake cream from frozen banana pureed with vanilla, as seen in this recipe for gluten-free ice cream protein sandwiches.
Enjoy your trip down memory lane as you eat these healthy versions of your childhood favorites, and take some pride in knowing you're getting the taste of nostalgia without all the excess sugar and fat.
- Little Debbie: “Oatmeal Crème Pies”
- USDA Food Data Central: “Oatmeal Crème Pies”
- USDA Food Data Central: “Swiss Rolls”
- USDA Food Data Central: “Zebra Cakes”
- My Food Data: “Molasses”
- My Food Data: “Uncooked Oats”
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Oats"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Oatmeal-Maple and Raisin Cookies"