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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

STEPHANIE ZONIS is a Contributing Editor to THE NIBBLE.

 

 

October 2006
Updated March 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Rice, Bean & Grains

Whole Grains: Better Breakfast Cereals

Part 7: Product Reviews

 

This is Part 7 of a 7-page article. Click the black links below to view the other pages.

 

Cereals Tested for this Article

This is by no means a comprehensive list of the cooked, hot, whole grain cereals available to the consumer, but hopefully it will provide incentive for you to try some. If you’re not used to eating whole grain cereals and suspect they may be too strongly-flavored for your liking, start with the opposite type—cereals that are very mild in taste. You may find they’re just right for you, or you may want to try something with a heartier flavor.

Cereals are categorized here according to the grain(s) they contain. Within categories, cereals are listed in alphabetical order. Where a cereal is certified kosher, this is so noted.

Although “chewy” can have negative connotations in some food references, such is not the case here. A “chewy” cereal is one that has some texture and gives you something textural. It’s not unpleasantly chewy, but it is the opposite of mushy or gooey, qualities that have turned some people off to oatmeal.

Remember, too, that your preferences may differ. What’s indicated here as a favorite or ours may not necessarily turn out to be a cereal that floats your boat. The point here is to get you thinking about these cereals and doing some experimenting of your own. All cereals, even within the same category here, are definitely not alike.

All cereals listed were prepared according to package directions using water (milk was an option for some) and a stovetop. Some were made in the microwave on a separate occasion as part of a sampling to see if microwave directions were viable for cooked hot cereals. In every case, microwaving was successful. Although most instant hot cereals are flavored or presweetened (or both), most cooked hot cereals are not. There are exceptions that were tried here, and any flavoring or sweetening is described in the listing of the individual cereal.

Goji Berry Oatmeal
Holly’s Oatmeal is available in three flavors plus Gluten Free.


Of the 43 products we tasted, these 13 were our favorites: Bob’s Red Mill Organic Kamut Cereal, Cream of the West Roasted Rolled Oats, John McCann Steel Cut Oat Meal and their Quick & Easy Steel Cut Irish Oat Meal, Macroom Organic Oatmeal, Silver Palate Quick and Rough Oatmeal, Hodgson Mill Cracked Wheat Hot Cereal, Cream of the West Roasted 7 Grain, Old Wessex Ltd. 5 Grain Cereal, Pompanoosuc Porridge, Roman Meal Granola, Vermont Morning Organic Multigrain Hot Cereal and their Organic Wheat-Free Hot Cereal. Since the original review, we have added another favorite, Holly’s Oatmeal, which has flavored and gluten-free blended hot cereals.

Brown Rice Only

Buckwheat Only

Gluten Free Only

  • Holly’s Oatmeal. A blend of grains including gluten-free oats grown in fields where there is no wheat or barley grown to cross-contaminate. A NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. A favorite.

Kamut Only

Oats Only

Rye Only

  • Roman Meal Cream of Rye (Organic). Lots of good texture. Don’t let the dark color of the cereal fool you; it does not have anywhere near as strong a taste as the color implies. Kosher.

Wheat Only

  • Cream of the West Roasted Wheat. A little texture, with a very mild flavor that will take on the character of whatever you add to it. A good introduction to whole grain hot cereals, especially for kids.
  • Hodgson Mill Cracked Wheat Hot Cereal. Full-flavored cracked wheat kernels with great individual texture. A favorite. Kosher.
  • Wheatena Toasted Wheat Cereal. Pleasantly rough texture and definite stronger “wheat” taste. Dark color. Also contains extra wheat bran, extra wheat germ and calcium carbonate. Kosher.

Blended Grains

  • Bob’s Red Mill Mighty Tasty GF (Gluten Free) Hot Cereal. Brown rice, corn, white sorghum and buckwheat. Almost a two-tone effect (yellow and white) in color. Some texture. Initial mild taste leads to a slightly stronger flavor at the end. Kosher.
  • Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli. Oats, wheat, rye, triticale, barley—also date crumbles, raisins, sunflower seeds, almonds, flaxseed and walnuts. Very good mix of distinctive textures. Taste is very strong, in large part because of the sunflower seeds. Although muesli if often eaten cold in the U.S., this can be (and was) prepared as a hot cereal according to package directions. Kosher.
  • Bob’s Red Mill Organic High Fiber Cereal with Flaxseed. Oats, flaxseed meal—also oat bran, wheat bran, wheat germ and rice bran. Porridge-like, with some texture, probably from the brans. Very strong flavor with strong, lasting aftertaste.
  • Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal. Wheat, corn, rye, triticale, oats and five other grains (plus oat bran). Moderate amount of texture. A strong flavor that fades quickly. Kosher.
  • Cream of the West Roasted 7-Grain. Two kinds of wheat, oats, barley, rye, triticale, spelt and wheat bran. Brilliant mix of al dente textures with a moderately strong taste. A favorite.
  • Fiddler’s Green Farm Organic Oat Bran & Brown Rice Hot Cereal. Despite the name, brown rice is the first ingredient, so this is predominantly a whole grain cereal. Very light-colored with little texture; described on the package as “our children’s first cereal.” Initial mild flavor leads to a fairly strong aftertaste.
  • Fiddler’s Green Farm Organic 12-Grain Cereal. Wheat, corn, oats, rice, rye, and seven other grains, including soy grits and soy flakes. Porridge-like, with some texture contrast. Initial mild taste leads to very strong aftertaste.
  • Hodgson Mill Bulgur Wheat with Soy Hot Cereal. Great, distinctive whole grain texture. Less-strong wheat flavor than some other wheat cereals. A pilaf, but there’s no reason it can’t be used for breakfast.
  • Hodgson Mill Multi Grain Hot Cereal. Oats, wheat bran, flaxseed, soy grits, wheat germ, and cracked whole wheat. Minimal texture. Initial mild taste a precursor to a much stronger aftertaste that fades quickly. Kosher.
  • Holly’s Oatmeal. A blend of oatmeal and six other whole grains, in three flavors: Apricot With Hazelnuts, Cranberry Almond and Goji Berry. A NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. A favorite.
  • Izzie’s Irish Oats (Organic).  Steel cut oats, millet, and almonds. Different textures from the two grains and nuts. A good combination of mild flavors. See overnight soaking method on package for a time-saving tip.
  • Old Wessex Ltd. 5 Grain Cereal, no website or phone number but available from WellnessGrocer.com, RaisinRack.com and others, as well as at some grocery stores. Oats, rye, triticale, barley and golden flax. Interesting multidimensional texture and good flavor blend. A favorite. Kosher.
  • Pompanoosuc Porridge. Steel cut oats, white wheat bulgur, and flax seed. Great distinctively chewy grain texture. Somewhat stronger tasting. A favorite.
  • Quaker Multigrain Hot Cereal (The only mention of this product I found was in the “Buy hard-to-find products online” section). Rye, barley, oats and wheat. Moderate amount of texture with modest flavor. Kosher.
  • River Valley Porridge. Oats, wheat, bulgur, flax seed and millet. Interesting medley of textures. Flavor is mild at first, then becomes very strong.
  • Roman Meal Granola. Oats, wheat, almonds, soy powder—also brown sugar, coconut oil, coconut and honey. Looks like granola in the canister. Lots of texture, helped along by the almonds and coconut. Presweetened, but not too sweet. A favorite. Kosher.
  • Roman Meal Hearty Hot Cereal (Apple Cinnamon). Wheat, oats, flaxseed meal—also dried apples, brown sugar, raisin juice concentrate, cinnamon and nutmeg. Multitextured, due partially to the fruit. Presweetened, but sweetness is minimal. Good amount of spice. Kosher.
  • Roman Meal Hearty Hot Cereal (Raisins, Dates, Almonds). Oats, wheat—also raisins, brown sugar, dates, raisin juice concentrate and almonds. Multitextured, due partially to the fruit. Presweetened, but not excessively; raisins and dates add a kick of sweetness. Good amount of spice. Kosher.
  • Roman Meal Hot Cereal (Original with Oats). Wheat, oats, rye, wheat bran and flax seed. Moderate amount of both texture and flavor. Kosher.
  • Vermont Morning Organic Multi-Grain Hot Cereal. Oats, oat bran, wheat, wheat bran, rye and cinnamon. A grown-up texture with a good blend of flavors and just a hint of cinnamon. A favorite.
  • Vermont Morning Organic Wheat Free Multi-Grain Hot Cereal. Oats, oat bran, rye and cinnamon. Another good flavor combination with genuine texture (no mush here!) and a restrained use of spice. A favorite.

 

Return To Part 1

See Index Of Article

 

Special Thanks To:

  • Patricia Floyd and Vermont Morning
  • Quaker Oats
  • Marsha Carpenter and Hodgson Mill
  • Bob Quinn and the Kamut Association of North America
  • Allen Ginsberg and Fiddler’s Green Farm
  • Todd Kluger and Roman Meal
  • Cynthia Harriman and the Whole Grains Council
  • Dennis Gilliam and Bob’s Red Mill
  • Joel Clark and Kodiak Cakes
  • Pamela J. White, Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition,
    Iowa State University

Other Sources:

 

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