'Instant' hot cereal is just cut smaller

Oct. 10, 2011 at 9:23 PM
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SANTA MONICA, Calif., Oct. 10 (UPI) -- The only difference between "instant" oatmeal and regular is the size of the grain, which is cut smaller to cook faster, a U.S. food expert says.

Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst, trend watcher and creator of the Web site supermarketguru.com,

said hot cereals have been eaten throughout civilization in the form of porridges and gruels, but hot cereal today include cream of rice, cream of wheat and oatmeal.

Unsweetened whole grain options such as whole oats, wheat and barley, as well as less refined e.g. steel cut, might be healthier options, Lempert said.

"For unsweetened varieties as you can always add your desired sweeteners -- honey, cinnamon, dried fruit, berries, maple syrup -- at home," Lempert said. "There are lots of choices from single grains such as oatmeal to mixed blends of grains varieties include: Whole grain wheat, cracked wheat, or wheat berries; rice or wild rice, kasha (buckwheat groats), or combinations of several; cream of rye or wheat (Wheatena) or processed (Cream of Wheat)."

Some ancient grains like amaranth, quinoa, spelt, kamut, triticale, einkorn, also make nutritious, delicious hot breakfast cereal. For gluten-free diets, use kasha, quinoa, chia or buckwheat, Lempert said.

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