Did You Know?
Coarse oats or steel-cut oats is the healthiest oatmeal as it is made from whole grains.
Oatmeal is undoubtedly one of the healthiest options for a delicious meal. Packed with nutrients and fibers, a bowl of oatmeal is probably the best way to start your day, as it can help regulate your insulin and blood sugar levels, besides keeping your digestive system healthy.
Moreover, there are many flavoring options to make this healthy food a scrumptious treat. You can add fruits, yogurt, honey, milk, cinnamon, and even raisins to enhance the taste and flavor of oatmeal. But still, it is quite natural to crave for a change after having an oatmeal breakfast continuously for a couple of days. So, here are a few healthy alternatives to oatmeal, that can cater to the needs of your taste buds without compromising nutrition.
Healthy and Nutritious Oatmeal Alternatives
Yes, millet is a typical ingredient in bird food. But this gluten-free grain can also be used to make a healthy and delicious breakfast. Millet is mildly sweet and has a nutty flavor. It is rich in iron, vitamin B, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. Millet is easily digestible, and it contains dietary fibers that can help maintain your digestive health.
How to Cook
Millet is incredibly easy to cook. First, soak millet in water for about 8 hours, and then drain the water and rinse it. Take about 2 cups of water (for 1 cup millet) in a pot and add the soaked millet to it. Bring the water to a boil, and then cook it on a low flame for about 15 to 30 minutes. Be sure to keep stirring in between to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. You can also toast the millet for a few minutes in a skillet or saucepan before adding water to it. This will help enhance its nutty flavor. If you want to make a creamy porridge, then add more water - about 3 cups of water for 1 cup of millet. Once it is cooked, you can add milk and enjoy your millet porridge. The taste and flavor of millet porridge can be further enhanced by adding dry fruits, raisins, cinnamon, honey, or shredded coconut.
Quinoa is a grain loaded with B vitamins, fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates, antioxidants, minerals, and healthy fats, and is an excellent option for replacing your morning bowl of oatmeal. Quinoa is one of the few plant-based sources of complete protein. Additionally, it is gluten-free, and can be consumed by those suffering from gluten intolerance as well.
How to Cook
To make a breakfast porridge with quinoa, take about 2 cups of water for 1 cup of sprouted quinoa. Now, boil the water in a pot and add the sprouted quinoa. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for about 15 minutes on low-to-medium heat. You can also add dry fruits, nuts, and cinnamon to make your quinoa porridge more delicious.
Bulgur is a versatile grain that can be cooked in several different ways. It is a whole grain cereal made from hulled grains of different types of wheat, but more commonly from durum wheat. Bulgur has a slightly nutty flavor, and is a staple ingredient in Middle Eastern dishes like tabbouleh, pilafs, and kibbeh. Bulgur comes in three grinds - coarse, medium, and fine. Out of these, the medium grind is usually used as a cereal.
How to Cook
Bulgur can be prepared like rice, couscous, or quinoa. It can be used to make porridge-like oatmeal as well. To cook bulgur, first take 2 cups of water for each cup of bulgur and boil it in a pot. You can also add skimmed milk along with water. Now, add a cup of bulgur and cook it for about 15 to 20 minutes. To sweeten it, you can use brown sugar or honey.
Like oatmeal, barley is also a rich source of dietary fiber. It is a cereal grain with a rich nutty flavor and a chewy texture. Barley can help lower cholesterol and control blood sugar levels, besides ensuring regular bowel movements. Hence, it is great for anyone suffering from constipation. Barley is usually available as 'pearl barley' or 'pearled barley', which has been processed to remove the hull and the bran.
How to Cook
Barley can be cooked like oatmeal. Barley flour can also be used in place of oatmeal for making pancakes and low-fat muffins. To cook pearl barley, take about 2 or 2½ cups of water or broth for 1 cup of pearl barley, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, and let it simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes, until the grains become tender and absorb the liquid. Now, fluff it with a fork, and your barley is ready to serve. You can add dried fruits and nutmeg, or flavor it with cinnamon. Even yogurt can be added to cooked barley to make a scrumptious treat.
This heart-healthy food is in no way related to wheat, and is completely safe for those having gluten intolerance. Though buckwheat is commonly considered a grain, it is actually a seed. Buckwheat can help lower the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes, and reduce the levels of blood cholesterol. Along with proteins and carbohydrates, it is a good source of manganese, magnesium, copper, and zinc. It is usually used for making porridge.
How to Cook
To make buckwheat porridge, first roast or dry toast one cup of buckwheat in a shallow saucepan or skillet for a few minutes. This will help enhance its flavor. Now, place the roasted seeds in a pot and add about 2 cups of water, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove it from the heat, and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Now, sweeten it with honey or maple syrup, and enjoy your delectable buckwheat porridge.
Spelt is an ancient species of wheat that has lately become quite popular as a health food. It is packed with both simple and complex carbohydrates, proteins, B vitamins, dietary fiber, and vitamin E. It contains more protein and unsaturated fatty acids than other wheat. Moreover, spelt is easier to digest, and is also delicious with a sweet, nutty flavor.
How to Cook
To cook spelt, take about 3 to 3½ cups of water for each cup of spelt. Then put the spelt berries and water in a pot and cook it on high heat till the water starts boiling. Now, reduce the flame, and let it simmer for about 1 or 1½ hours until the berries become soft. If you do not like it soft, then add less water, about 2 cups of water for 1 cup of spelt berries, and follow the same procedure.
Amaranth is a highly nutritious gluten-free grain, and is an excellent source of protein. It contains the essential amino acid lysine, which is not found in common grains like wheat and corn. It contains more proteins than rice, sorghum, and rye, and can help you feel full for longer. Apart from proteins, it is a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and dietary fiber. So, amaranth can be considered a healthy alternative to oatmeal.
How to Cook
Take about 2½ or 3 cups of water for each cup of amaranth, put it in a pot and bring it to a boil. Now, add the amaranth seeds to the boiling water, reduce the heat, and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for about 20 minutes in this way until the grains become fluffy. Add cinnamon and top it with banana slices or other fruits to make a delicious breakfast. To make porridge, you have to add more water and then follow the same procedure.
Teff is another great option to replace oatmeal. This highly nutritious food is especially good for women, as it is loaded with iron. In addition to iron, teff can provide a significant amount of dietary fiber, proteins, and calcium. Teff usually comes in two varieties - white teff and darker teff. The white teff is noted for its chestnut-like taste, while the darker teff has an earthier taste with a hint of hazelnut.
How to Cook
Teff can be prepared in several ways. However, the basic recipe is quite simple, and requires about 3 cups of water for each cup of teff. Put teff and water into a pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Now, reduce the heat, cover the pot with a lid and let it to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Then remove it from heat, and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes. Your teff is now ready to serve. You can enhance its taste and flavor further by adding chopped dates, nuts, and raisins.
So, oatmeal is not the only option for a healthy and nutritious meal. You can replace it with a number of products to satiate your taste buds. In this article, only a basic method for preparing these foods has been discussed. But, you can prepare them in several different ways and make some really appetizing dishes with different ingredients.