Whilst searching for healthier choices many individuals have moved away from modern grain products for many different reasons often associated with health or simply to try something different. Looking for alternatives can prove nourishing, beneficial for our health and delicious.
The grain of today is far removed from the grain our ancestors would have consumed due to hybridization and farming chemicals. The modern processing techniques used also strip away much of the remaining goodness. Foods such as pasta, bread, cakes and biscuits can be replaced with more nutrient dense options. By swapping these foods for plant carbohydrates instead of refined we can increase our phytonutrient (plant chemical) exposure, which brings many additional benefits for the body. Another key factor is that these options do not spike blood sugar to the same degree as refined carbohydrates and by keeping blood sugar levels more balanced we can support weight management, mood, energy levels and concentration. We will also reduce/remove the amount of gluten we consume, which has been associated with many health conditions.
Here are some savoury top swaps worth trying:
Portobello Halloumi/Burger Buns: Swap a burger bun for a Portobello mushroom.
Simply roast the Portobello mushroom in the oven in some olive oil for 15 minutes and serve with your halloumi/burger (meat/vegetarian). This is also delicious topped with onion and avocado.
The mushroom will provide dietary fibre, protein, B vitamins and vitamin D, therefore beneficial for digestive health and cleansing. It also contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Cauliflower Rice: Swap rice for cauliflower rice.
Break a cauliflower head (serves 2) into florets and place into a food processor. Pulse for a few minutes until you have rice sized grains. Either steam the cauliflower until soft or stir-fry in coconut oil, adding some pesto or turmeric, almonds and raisins for flavor.
Cannellini Bean Mash: Swap mashed potato for Cannellini Bean Mash.
Use a hand blender/blender to mash 250g of cannellini beans (serves 2). Gently heat in a pan with 1 tbsp. of olive oil, 2 tbsp. milk (soya/nut) and 1 tsp. bouillon stock powder. Add more milk for a smoother consistency. Simply serve as a mash alternative.
By swapping potatoes, which convert to glucose rapidly in the bloodstream, with a legume benefits include better blood sugar balance.
Cannellini beans are high in protein and fibre, which are beneficial for digestive support and protective for the heart and blood vessels.
Courgette Spaghetti: Swap wheat based spaghetti for courgette spaghetti.
Use a spiraliser of a peeler to produce spirals of courgettes. These can be eaten raw in a salad with dressing, steamed or stir-fried and are delicious served with a Bolognese or pesto sauce.
The courgettes are a perfect light, cleansing food that contain vitamin C, potassium, beta-carotene, phosphorus and folate which are beneficial for circulatory health, water balance and supporting the metabolism.
Chinese Leaf Cannelloni: Swap pasta for Chinese leaf cannelloni.
Prepare a Bolognese sauce and set aside. Fill a large saucepan with boiling water and tear the Chinese leaves away from the bulb and place into the large saucepan of water. This will soften the leaves so they can be rolled. After a few minutes take one leaf at a time, spoon Bolognese into the centre and wrap it before placing it into a baking dish. Once the dish is full you can sprinkle with grated cheese and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes and simply serve as cannelloni.
Chinese leaves are a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants and help to boost the body’s immune system.
Give some of these swaps a try and enjoy the delicious flavours these alternatives offer as well as the additional benefits to your overall health.