Great Grains

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If the idea of plain-Jane oatmeal doesn’t whet your appetite, maybe you need some new ways to prepare it.

  • Try sweetening hot cereal with stevia extract powder – a safe, non-caloric herbal sweetener made from the leaf of a South American plant. (It’s 300 times sweeter than sugar, so you don’t need much!) Or try Opti-Sweet (Optimum Nutrition) or Kiwi-Sweet (Nutrition for Life) – these low-glycemic kiwi concentrates contain less than one gram of carbohydrate per serving.
  • For additional flavor, look for pure, natural flavoring extracts (vanilla, almond, maple, coconut, berry, etc) in a non-alcohol glycerine base in health food stores. They taste sweet, but won’t alter blood glucose levels. Don’t be afraid to get spicy, either. Besides cinnamon, try adding apple pie spice, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, or ginger powder. Research indicates that warm spices can help boost your metabolic rate!
  • For variety, try a different grain. More and more stores are stocking these exotic starches. Look for kamut, barley, spelt or rye flakes, kasha (roasted buckwheat), Aztec amaranth, blue or yellow cornmeal. Even leftover cooked brown or wild rice, stale bread, cornbread or leftover noodles, can be a terrific breakfast base.
  • To add extra sustenance and balance the carbohydrates contained in your cereal, stir in a one-ounce scoop of plain or vanilla flavored egg white protein or whey protein, which will provide about 21 grams of protein and only 100 to 115 calories. If your protein powder contains a sweetener, you may not need any additional stevia, Opti-Sweet or Kiwi-Sweet.
  • Add friendly fats. They add a rich taste, and health benefits, too. Using flax oil or walnuts adds essential fatty acids that your body needs for peak performance and hormonal balance. (Note: Do not cook with flax oil – it is very easily damaged by heat. Add it at the table.)

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