Many people who want to eliminate gluten from their diets think that they must give up all grain foods. I know, because I was one of them! But, after some research, I’ve learned that there are actually a lot of gluten-free grains that you can eat instead of wheat and other high gluten foods. This is good news if, like me, you were beginning to wonder what you were going to eat!
The next time you want to include grains in your diet but want to avoid the gluten, try one of these alternatives instead.
1. Millet – this gluten-free grain has a pleasant, nutty taste and is one of the most digestible and non-allergenic grains around. You cook it just like rice (one part millet, two parts water), and it can be ground down into flour too. Whole grain Millet, available at Amazon.com.
2. Rice – contrary to popular belief, rice is a gluten-free grain. Brown and wild rice are arguably healthier because they contain more fiber and nutrients than white rice but even white rice is okay – especially after exercise. My favorite wild rice at amazon.com.
3. Buckwheat – a good source of magnesium and high in flavonoids like rutin, buckwheat has been shown to help regulate blood glucose levels so, as well as being gluten-free, it’s also excellent for people with diabetes and anyone trying to lose weight. Organic buckwheat groats available at Amazon.com.
4. Oats – oats and oatmeal are gluten free, but some people still experience gluten-like side effects when they eat it because it contains a gluten-like substance. If you are okay with oats, make sure you seek out steel-cut, organic oats and don’t eat things like flavored oatmeal or instant oatmeal which are nothing more than processed, sugary junk. You can also process oatmeal down to a fine flour and use it for baking. Oatmeal flour pancakes are especially good! Organic whole grain steel cut oats available at Amazon.com.
5. Amaranth – high in B vitamins, calcium, iron and Vitamin C, amaranth may also help lower cholesterol. It’s also higher in protein than most other grains although quinoa is the winner in that particular competition. Amaranth is an ancient food and was used by the Aztecs as long as 6,000 to 8,000 years ago. You can buy the one I use at amazon.com.
6. Popcorn – looking for a gluten-free grain snack? Look no further than popcorn. I love making my own popcorn; it’s so easy! Just put some corn kernels in a pan, add a little salt and oil, and then heat (with a tight-fitting lid in place) until the popping sound finishes. Great for movie night or anytime you want a healthy treat.
7. Polenta – made from corn, polenta is a great alternative to rice. Fine polenta can even be used as an alternative to flour, and you can use it in many cake recipes. It’s got a sweet, mild taste which I’m sure you will enjoy. It cooks very quickly making it ideal for healthy meals in a hurry.
8. Sorghum – another ancient grain that dates back 4,000 years or more, sorghum is from Africa, and it’s rich in fiber, iron, and protein. It has a hearty, chewy, nutty texture and is filling and tasty too. It’s commonly made into a pilaf, can be popped like popcorn, and is often found in gluten-free flour.
9. Teff – teff is the smallest grain, and it takes about 100 teff granules to make a wheat kernel. However, despite its small size, teff packs a big nutritional punch, and it’s high in calcium, protein, and fiber. It has a nutty flavor and can be made into porridge. For extra flavor, toast it before using.
10. Montina (Indian Rice Grass) – you may not have heard of this gluten-free grain before, but it’s been around for a very long time. It was once a staple of the Native American diet and is high in both protein and fiber. It has a strong wheat-like taste and is often ground to make gluten-free flour.
So, there you are – TEN gluten-free grains to use instead of wheat. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE quinoa, but I also believe that, to be healthy, you need to eat a variety of foods and relying just on quinoa could be a nutritional mistake. Why not try a couple of these alternative gluten-free grains? I’m sure you’ll love them!
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