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It's hard to beat a bowl of hot, creamy cereal to start a chilly fall day. But if you don't have time to stir a pot of steel-cut oats – or you're tired of oatmeal – Bob's Red Mill multigrain hot cereals are worth adding to your breakfast menu. They're quick to cook and packed with healthy whole grains.

Diets based on whole grains – oats, millet, whole wheat, whole rye and flax seed, to name a few – have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity and certain cancers. And compared with refined breakfast cereal (think Special K, Rice Krispies), a bowl of hot whole-grain cereal does a better job of staving off hunger throughout the morning.

Whole-grain foods are made from the entire grain seed: the outer bran layer that's rich in fibre, B vitamins and antioxidants, the germ layer that contains vitamins, minerals and healthy fats, and the endosperm where the starchy carbohydrates are.

Bob's Red Mill 5 Grain Hot Cereal blends whole-grain oats, wheat, rye, barley, triticale (a cross between wheat and rye packed with fibre and potassium) and flax seed. The seven-grain blend adds brown rice and oat bran to the mix. The 10-grain cereal includes millet, a gluten-free grain that's high in antioxidants and magnesium, a mineral that helps regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.

Each whole-grain cereal takes only 10 minutes to cook on the stove (one-third of the time it takes to cook steel-cut oats). And they're versatile, too. Bob's Red Mill 5 Grain hot cereal can replace oats in oatmeal cookies, muffins and homemade bread recipes. The 7 and 10 Grain hot cereals can be added to muffin, pancake and waffle batters.

Another bonus: Unlike instant oatmeal, you won't find any sodium or refined sugar in packages of Bob's Red Mill hot cereals. To add natural sweetness – and extra nutrition – to your breakfast, top hot cereal with pomegranate seeds, gogi berries, raisins, chopped dates, chopped pineapple, banana slices or unsweetened applesauce. Or, sprinkle dark chocolate chips or cocoa powder over your porridge for a boost of disease-fighting flavonoids.

Try spices such as cinnamon and ginger to add flavour. Other healthy toppings include pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans and unsweetened shredded coconut.

To round out your breakfast, top your hot cereal with Greek yogurt, low-fat milk or unsweetened soy milk, all good sources of protein and calcium.

Leslie Beck, a Registered Dietitian, is based at the Medisys clinic in Toronto. She can be seen every Thursday at noon on CTV News Channel's Direct

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