Don't overlook hot cereals as a super way to start your morning, especially when it's cold outside. But just because a cereal is hot doesn't automatically make it more nutritious.
You still have to read the nutrition labels for items like fiber and sodium, and check the ingredients panel to make sure the cereal is made from whole grains.
Oatmeal is always whole-grain, and other grains you cook may also be—but don't assume they all are. Cream of Wheat (farina) is typically not, though a whole-wheat version is now widely available. Buy hot cereals made with whole grains, like whole-wheat farina, whole or steel-cut oats, barley, stone-ground grits or brown rice.
4 hot cereal tips
1. Opt for the plain versions instead of flavored concoctions, and add your own fruit, honey, nuts and/or seeds.
2. If time is an issue, you can cut corners by buying "quick" (as with oats) versions of your favorite hot cereal. "Instant" cereals are the most convenient but are often high in sodium.
3. Or, choose oats that take a long time to cook, like steel-cut, make a big batch that you can keep in the fridge for a couple of days, reheating some as needed.
4. If you opt for instant microwaveable hot cereals, recycling their containers (assuming your community does so) is better for the environment than throwing them in the trash.