7 healthy low carb grains to include in your diet

For nutritious and delicious options, consider eating these healthy low-carb grains

Healthy low-carb grains can be added to your diet for more nutrition and variety. It’s a great way to make sure you’re still eating carbohydrates, which, despite their bad rap lately, are still essential to a healthy diet.

Each of us needs carbohydrates in addition to protein and fat, but each person needs a different amount of these three main nutrients. The difference between low-carb cereals and other cereals is how they are processed.

Whole beans are harvested from the plant and dried with little interference from processing methods. Refined grains are processed to remove the outer layers, which contain many of the vitamins and minerals we need in our diets. By choosing whole grains over refined grains, you can reap maximum health benefits. You’ll also enjoy plenty of fiber, a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest but is essential for nutrition.

Fiber is found in whole grains and aids in digestion controls blood sugar, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, and keeps you feeling full, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As a complex carbohydrate, fiber is also digested more slowly, reducing blood sugar spikes. The American Diabetes Association (opens in a new tab) says it also contains more vitamins and minerals than refined carbohydrates.

How can you incorporate healthier low-carb cereals into your diet? Well, it’s relatively easy. Just swap out some of your favorite foods, instead of white bread, try rye or replace your instant oatmeal with steel-cut oats. You can also try other grains like bulgur, barley, and millet. Here we look at the health benefits of these 7 grains and ways to cook them.

1. BULGUR

Bulgur is made from crushed whole grains of wheat berries that are parboiled and dried. It has a nutty flavor and is easy to work with as it cooks very quickly, ready in 10-15 minutes.

Bulgur contains around 14g of carbohydrates (opens in a new tab) per 100g serving and is a low-glycemic option. It is also high in fiber and contains essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and potassium.

Bulgarian is common in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern diets, such as tabbouleh with parsley salad. It’s a good substitute for other grains, like rice, quinoa, or oatmeal, and can be made into oatmeal, used as a base for a salad or cereal bowl, mixed into soups, or added to burgers.

2. BUCKWHEAT

low carb buckwheat grain

Buckwheat is a pseudocereal that contains about 20 g of carbohydrates per serving. A pseudo-grain, or pseudocereal, comes from seeds rather than grasses like true grains. It is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. Bulgarian is also a good source of fiber, B vitamins, and magnesium.

This ancient grain has been eaten in Asia for years. Archaeological studies believe that buckwheat has been cultivated in northern China for food for 6,000 years. Japanese soba noodles are a popular example of a buckwheat-based food.

So how does it feel to eat? Buckwheat has a nutty flavor and is a great alternative to rice in dishes like risotto or as a side dish. Buckwheat is frequently used as a substitute for flour, such as in bread or pancakes. Despite its name, buckwheat is a gluten-free grain and can be enjoyed by people who are sensitive or allergic to wheat.

3. WILD RICE

For added nutritional benefits, consider replacing white rice with wild rice. Cooked wild rice contains about 21 g of carbohydrates per serving. There are several species of wild rice, which is actually semi-aquatic grass rather than a grain.

Wild rice contains more protein and fiber than regular rice. It has a firmer texture and a nutty flavor. Wild rice can be used as a substitute for white rice in any dish or as a substitute for potatoes or pasta. It’s also good for adding variety to salads, soups, and pilafs. Or try it in a dish of stuffed squash, mushrooms, or bell peppers.

4. COUSCOUS

low carb couscous grain

Couscous is made from small, rolled granules of durum wheat semolina. Durum wheat is common pasta wheat, which contains gluten and is rich in protein. Couscous contains about 23g of carbohydrates per 100g and is high in selenium, a trace mineral that helps protect against cell damage and infection (opens in a new tab).

Couscous comes in three main varieties: Moroccan, Israeli, and Lebanese. Moroccan is the smallest and fastest to cook, while Lebanese couscous is the largest. It has a nutty flavor and can add texture to dishes. Whole wheat couscous is available for an added fiber boost. It is often added to salads and stews, or as a side dish to meats. Couscous can also be made into fritters or tried in a Moroccan tagine.

5. QUINOA

Quinoa is also a pseudocereal made from seeds instead of grasses. A serving of quinoa contains about 21 g of carbohydrates. It is a complete protein and an excellent source of nutrients, such as magnesium, folic acid, and zinc. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and comes in a variety of colors, the most common being red, white, and black.

Quinoa is often used to add texture and nutrients to salads, while also making a great side dish on its own as an alternative to rice. It can be added as a nutritious filler to dishes like meatloaf, burgers, stuffed peppers, soups, or stews. Quinoa also works if added to baked goods like muffins.

6. MILLET

low carb millet grains

Millet is not a singular type of grain, but rather a group of small-seeded grasses. Cooked millet contains about 23 g of carbohydrates per 100 g. It does not contain gluten and is rich in important vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, iron, and zinc. Millet is also a good source of dietary fiber.

Millet is a staple food in the semi-desert countries of Africa and India, where it is made into a flatbread called roti. It is often added as a seed to bread or made into rolled oats. Millet can be made into a creamy paste, like mashed potatoes, or fluffy, as a substitute for rice.

7. BARLEY

Barley was one of the first plants(opens in a new tab) believed to have been domesticated by humans. This grain is high in fiber and high in vitamins and minerals, including selenium and manganese. Cooked barley contains about 28 g of carbohydrates per 100 g. For maximum health benefits, choose whole barley, such as hulled or flaked barley. Pearl barley is the most common and has a tan color because the outer layer of the bran has been polished.

Beef and barley soup is a winner for this grain; if you are a vegetarian, substitute mushrooms for the meat. Barley can also be made into risotto, oatmeal, or oatmeal, and it’s also nice to add to salads. Barley, being wheat, contains gluten.

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