4 Healthy Grains to Eat Besides Rice
This post written by guest blogger – Aparna Herror
Ever since my parents got diagnosed with diabetes, they have pretty much given up eating rice. They have completely switched to eating whole grains, such as millet, barley, oats, quinoa, teff, rye, etc. Eliminating rice from their diet has helped them keep their blood sugar level under control (most of these have low Glycemic Index), and they feel great overall. Thanks to them, I got introduced to these wonderful grains too, and I try to incorporate them in my diet as much as I can.
Of late, quinoa has gained popularity because of its high protein content, and low Glycemic Index. I love quinoa, but I also like a few other grains, that are very easy to cook, and loaded with nutrients.
With a low Glycemic Index, millet is supposedly the least allergenic amongst grains, and is easily digestible, and no, it is not bird seed! It is packed with vitamin B, and minerals such as phosphorus, and magnesium. A cup of cooked millet is about 200 calories. I first roast it to enhance the nutty flavor, and then add water or broth to cook. It cooks in 15-20 minutes, and goes real well with any sauce, or curry.
This triangular shaped grain is wonderful for cardiovascular health, and is an excellent source of minerals, and fiber. A cup of cooked buckwheat is only about 150 calories! The good thing is you end up eating way less because it is so filling, thanks to all the available fiber. Buckwheat porridge, both sweet and savory, is delicious.
Oats, as we all know, come with great health benefits. Steel-cut oats are basically oats that have been cut into little pieces by steel blades or discs. These are minimally processed, as compared to rolled oats, and are rich in fiber, iron, protein, and calcium. If I remember right, 1/4 cup of cooked steel-cut oats is about 250 calories, comparatively higher than millet and buckwheat. But hey, for all the good stuff in there, I wouldn’t worry!
These are whole hull-less oats, very minimally processed, and believe me, the healthiest form of oats you can eat. Again, these are packed with high fiber, protein, and minerals, including selenium. Cooking time is longer, but the end result is totally worth it. Its nutty flavor and chewy texture make it my personal favorite. I stir in some pesto, ghost pepper salsa, and top it with some shredded cheddar. Delicious!
Don’t you think that it is time to become more adventurous, and open up to the healthy world of whole grains? Incidentally, September happens to be Whole Grains Month. Why not take a little break from the same old rice, and celebrate with some of these beautiful grains? Perhaps make a pilaf, or porridge. Or a trio-grain pilaf, like I did. There are still a couple days remaining in September! Let me know what you are making in the comments below.
Aparna Heroor is an avid food blogger. Her post, “Top 10 Picks at the Farmer’s Market,” was featured in Full Circle last month. Her article titled, “Poha- Krishna’s Favorite,” was published in the magazine, Education About Asia, in Winter 2011. Her blog, Yet Another Foodie includes recipes, and ruminations. Aparna moved to the Unites States from India in December 1997, and now lives in Sammamish, WA with her husband and two children.