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Beyond Oatmeal: 4 Healthy Hot Cereals You Should Try

01/27/2014 10:28 am ET | Updated Mar 12, 2015

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Oatmeal, the quintessential hot cereal, is a fine choice -- but it's hardly your only one.

By Johannah Sakimura

A warm, hearty start to your day can be the perfect buffer against chilly mornings. And beyond the obvious options, there's a bounty of less familiar but still good for you grains that can easily transform into piping hot porridge. Whip up a big batch of these heart-healthy picks on Sunday, then reheat single servings throughout the week for speedy, substantial, delicious A.M. meals.

  • Millet
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  • Though it's a common ingredient in birdseed, this mineral-rich grain isn't just for our feathered friends. One cup of cooked millet provides 24 percent of women's daily requirement of bone-strengthening magnesium and 20 percent of immunity-boosting zinc. And emerging research on animals has shown that whole-grain foxtail millet can help reduce levels of triglycerides and inflammation, two risk factors for heart disease.

    Make It a Meal Since millet can be slightly chalky, Jennifer Iserloh, founder of Skinny Chef Natural Foods, combines it with oats to create a creamier cereal.

    Get the recipe: Maple Millet and Oats
  • Amaranth
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  • The tiny tan seeds can work wonders for your heart: Research shows that amaranth is an especially rich source of plant sterols, compounds that can help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol levels by blocking cholesterol absorption in the intestines. The seeds are a great choice for vegetarians who have a hard time meeting their daily allowance of iron; one cup provides more of the mineral than an eight-ounce sirloin steak.

    Make It a Meal Despite its name, this breakfast from Iserloh is a cereal, not a drink.

    Get the recipe: Hot-Cocoa Amaranth
  • Farro
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  • Often relegated to lunch or dinner, these nutty, chewy kernels deserve a spot in your morning rotation. With some brands, a single serving (1/4 cup) delivers up to 7 grams of fiber—nearly twice the amount in oats. Though farro is commonly sold semi-pearled, which means part of the grain's outer coating has been removed to speed cooking, some lightly processed varieties still retain their high fiber content.

    Make It a Meal Jackie Newgent, nutritionist and author of Big Green Cookbook, suggests this recipe.

    Get the recipe: Citrusy Farro with Pistachios
  • Cornmeal
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  • While you can buy several versions of cornmeal, many grocery stores offer the whole-grain type complete with corn germ, a source of heart-healthy polyunsaturated fat. Another perk: Cornmeal contains about three times as many antioxidants (notably lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help ward off age-related vision problems) as brown rice flour.

    Make It a Meal Blueberries add an extra dose of antioxidants to this comforting concoction from Newgent.

    Get the recipe: Berry-Walnut Cornmeal

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