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As we here in the Northeast brace ourselves for yet another winter storm, it’s easy to let the mind wander towards warmth. Whether that means curling up under your favorite blanket or digging in to a hot meal to warm from within, everyone’s got a favorite way to turn up the heat. While many of us embrace multiple ways to keep out the cold, I like to start ﬁrst thing in the morning – with a nice hot cup of coﬀee and a steamy bowl of oatmeal.
Now I know some people eat oatmeal year-round, extoling its virtues of variety when it comes to ﬂavors and toppings. However I have to admit that I only turn to hot cereal once the temperature drops in the fall, then sometime mid-winter…I’m bored. I’ve had every possible combination of fruits and nuts, milk/no milk, cinnamon and brown sugar/honey/maple syrup – you name it. I go to the store, searching for something diﬀerent. Steel cut? Irish oats? I think, maybe it’s time to cross over to Cream of Wheat or mix it up with Muesli…but wait! What’s that?
A light shines down on the cereal aisle and a choir of angels sings a simultaneous “aaaaaaahhhhhhh” as I see the options before me. Breakfast blends galore! Quinoa ﬂakes, 8-grain blends, 10-grain blends, Cream of Buckwheat, spelt ﬂakes, rice cereal, the list goes on and on. Suddenly my whole day (and season) has changed. But when did this happen? Where did they come from, and why?
It turns out that one of the hottest food trends out there right now is: hot cereal. With a greater focus on whole grain consumption matching a steadily increasing demand, manufacturers are looking for all ways possible to help us get our grains! Starting with the ﬁrst meal of the day, there are now countless ways to ﬁll your breakfast bowls, and we’re digging right in!
No surprise, there’s proof now that people ARE digging in. According to data from NPD Group’s CREST® research, cold cereal used to outsell hot cereal in foodservice, but now hot cereal beats cold hands down.
Now I’m not here to preach about how breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and how eating a healthy breakfast has been linked to easier weight loss and maintenance, or any of that. (See how I did that?) But, I am happy to see that coﬀee shops and fast food restaurants are on board with the hot cereal trend as well – even if the options are still limited to oatmeal. So if your hectic morning routine means breakfast often becomes lunch – don’t despair. You can pick up a hot bowl of oatmeal with your morning joe, or try a new hot cereal to go. Just put a dry scoop in a container with any toppings you like, and ﬁll it with hot water at work – voila.
We’re big on breakfast here at Oldways, and we’d love to hear if any of you have tried these newcomers to the cereal aisle. Join us on the forum to leave a comment, and see what others have to say!