Quinoa: Though not technically a grain, quinoa is often referred to as the “super grain.” Compared to wheat, it has about twice the vitamin E, iron, and protein and three times as much folate. Quinoa has a mild, nutty flavor with a subtle crunch.
Amaranth: Amaranth has twice as much iron as most other grains. One cup cooked contains about 10% of the recommended daily intake of calcium. It is also very high in magnesium.
Teff: Teff is the smallest grain—over 100 kernels could fit on one wheat kernel. Much like amaranth, teff is a good source of iron, and magnesium, and calcium.
Spelt: Spelt is especially high in niacin, a vitamin important for heart health and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Note: Spelt is closely related to wheat, so individuals with celiac disease should avoid spelt.
Tips for Adding Alternative Grains to Your Diet:
- Try granola with a mix of whole grains. Kind brand granola is a great start as it contains six different types of whole grains and is gluten free! Eat it plain, with milk, or sprinkle it on yogurt.
- Cook different grains as a hearty hot breakfast cereal. Bob’s Red Mill brand offers a variety of grain mixes for hot cereal. An easy start is steel-cut oats—like rolled oats but not rolled. They have the same nutritional profile but a slightly different texture and taste.
- Replace rice with quinoa for a side dish. It requires the same cooking method as rice and compliments almost any meal. Harmons deli offers a variety cold quinoa salads that are great for a summer picnic or quick lunch.
- When making pancakes, substitute half (or all) of the flour with a new grain. Teff, buckwheat, and even cornmeal are great options.