Hot cereal Vs Oatmeal: Here’s What You Should Know

Oatmeal is a type of hot cereal. But not all hot cereals are oatmeal. Hot cereals are basically cereals soaked or cooked in warm milk or water to make them palatable to eat.

And there are several examples of hot cereals apart from oatmeal, many of which are made from whole wheat, rice, corn, etc. Hot cereals are great for breakfast, especially during cold mornings or winter. You can also take it as a bedtime snack.

This article explains the relationship between hot cereal and oatmeal, and what differences exist between them.

What is oatmeal?

Oats, also known as Avena sativa, is a type of cereal that’s of the grass family. The edible part of the plant is the seed called oat groats.

The oat groat includes the hull, germ, and endosperm. Oatmeal is basically made from oats. It’s processed oats grains that are ready to eat by cooking or soaking in milk or water.

The general process of making food out of oats involves cleaning, dehulling, kilning, cutting, steam tempering, flaking, and cooling. The popular oatmeal today is rolled oats. But the most nutritious and healthiest remains steel-cut oats.

SEE: The Differences Between Oats And Oatmeal

What is hot cereal?

Hot cereal is a porridge made with grain. A porridge is any variety of grain-based food that is boiled or cooked in milk or water until it softens. These grains include wheat, corn, oats, rice, barley, and the like.

Prominent examples of hot cereal include oatmeal, cream of wheat polenta, and grits which have existed for ages. Sweeteners such as sugar, honey, syrup, and dried fruits are often added by manufacturers.

Better still, you can add your choice of fruits, vegetables, and sweeteners before eating. Porridge can also be eaten as a savory dish mixed with spices, meats, and vegetables.

SEE: Does Cereal Make You Fat

Is hot cereal the same thing as oatmeal?

hot cereal vs oatmeal

As mentioned earlier, hot cereal is any cooked or boiled grain. It includes cream of wheat which is made from wheat, buckwheat porridge which is made from buckwheat, corn meal mush made from corn, etc.

Oatmeal on the other hand is simply made from oats. It’s also a type of hot cereal that’s boiled or cooked before eating.

Rolled oats are pre-steamed and rolled to flatten and split them. After which it is dried for storage. This processing makes them easy to make into oatmeal in as little as 5 minutes.

You can also make oatmeal by using steel-cut oats. Steel-cut oats are oat grains cut by a steel cutter into smaller pieces with their brans left in them. Unlike rolled oats, you have to slow-cook steel-cut oats for close to 30 minutes.

SEE: The Differences Between Oatmeal And Wheat

Is hot cereal good for you?

A healthy cereal is one that’s rich in fiber, and protein, and low in sugar and fat. Many hot cereal are excellent sources of dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. They can also have other nutritional properties like antioxidants and probiotics.

However, the processing of the grains also affects their nutritional value. Moreso, the ingredients vary by manufacturer and this also determines their health impact.

Whole grain cereals have the bran, endosperm, and germ intact. This makes them very rich in fiber and antioxidants and low in sugar or fat.

Fiber-rich foods are also known to reduce LDL cholesterol levels and reduce sugar levels thereby preventing heart disease. It also helps to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes as well as blood glucose levels.

Rolled cereals and cracked grains are not as rich in fiber as whole grains. Nevertheless, they are good sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals like iron, magnesium, copper, and zinc.

Keep in mind that some brands may have added sugar and add-ons which make them a less healthy cereal option.

Generally, hot cereals are just perfect as a go-to breakfast favorite on cold days. From quinoa to barley, Kamut, rice, wheat, oats, and corn, hot cereals can come from virtually any type of grain.

SEE: Is Oatmeal Good For Ulcer

Which is better oatmeal and cereal?

Oatmeal is a popular cereal option but you may wonder if they are better than most cold cereal out there. Oatmeal is healthier and better than cereal because they have high fiber, vitamins, and minerals in them.

Although cereals take short time to prepare and they taste sweeter and have more flavor than oatmeal, they are coated with sugar and additives that are not healthy for you. Cereals with colorings and preservatives have a high glycemic index which spikes sugar levels and causes diabetes and all sorts of heart diseases.

Oatmeal, on the other hand, make you feel full for longer because of its high fiber content and as a result help with weight loss. Unlike most cold cereals, the sugar and fat content is low.

Foods rich in fiber and less sugar and fat are associated with lowering LDL cholesterol levels and blood pressure as well as strengthening the immune system. It also contains both soluble and insoluble fiber which balances bowel movements and aids metabolism.

Some cereals like Kashi are also rich in protein, and fiber, but they contain high sugar compared to oatmeal which may cause blood spikes when taken often. Also, when we consider the cost of both, we can say the cereal cost thrice as much as oatmeal.

Additionally, oats have a bland taste but this gives them the advantage to take on the taste of other ingredients you’d love to add to your food. Nuts, cinnamon, apples, bananas, and the likes are those things you can add to make it more nutritious, tasty, and enjoyable.

SEE: Which Is Better Between Cheerios And Oatmeal

Is hot cereal better than cold cereal?

Most people tend to prefer cold cereals because they are quick and easy to make and can be eaten on the go. But the problem with them is that most of them have high sugar content.

Hot cereals are much healthier since they are not refined, and therefore contain less sugar. Whole grain cereals for instance are rich in fiber which is an essential part of the human diet.

Cereal ingredients such as oats, wheat, and psyllium, contain fiber and help reduce the risk of heart disease. Scientific research indicates that a diet including wheat bran may help reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Conversely, most sugar comes from processed foods and breakfast cereals are among the most popular processed foods that are high in added sugars. In fact, most cereals list sugar as the second or third ingredient.

Starting the day with a high-sugar breakfast cereal will spike your blood sugar and insulin levels. Quick digestion of cereals with less fiber also means that your body will crave another food early.

In the end, you may end up eating more than the calories required per day, creating an unhealthy circle of overeating and exposure to obesity and heart, kidney, and liver-related disease.

SEE: Differences Between Wholemeal And Whole Wheat Flour


What’s the healthiest oatmeal?

Overnight oats are the healthiest of the three oat options because it is whole grain. The only downside is that it has to be soaked overnight to become palatable to eat.

What can you eat instead of oatmeal?

Other healthy alternatives to oatmeal include brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, polenta, and grits.

What is the healthiest cereal to eat?

They include oatmeal, buckwheat, homemade granola, Kashi, homemade muesli, etc.

Can you eat oats like cereal?

Yes, you can eat oats without boiling or cooking with warm water or milk just like cold cereals. However, dry uncooked oats may not digest easily leading to stomach complications like constipation and diarrhea.

Final Thoughts

Oats are one of the healthiest grains on earth. They are free of gluten and a great source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. As mentioned in the article, oatmeal is a hot cereal that’s prepared with warm water.

Cream of wheat and quinoa rice, including mush and gruel are also some of the hot cereals that are popular today.

The major difference here is that oatmeal is basically made from oats, while other hot cereal options are made from wheat, barley, rice, buckwheat, corn, and the like.

Additionally, oats are gluten-free, while those wheat-based cereals contain gluten. Therefore, oat is okay for gluten-intolerant people but a cereal like cream of wheat isn’t.

You may read the article on the differences, uses, and similarities of semolina and cornmeal.

I hope this article helped. Thanks for reading.