The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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May 20, 2014

Dietitian: Banish boring breakfasts by mixing up morning grains

Q: I have been eating oatmeal every morning for the past few months and am slowly getting bored with it. I mix it up a bit by adding different toppings, but I just need something new. Do you have any other hot breakfast suggestions?

A: Enjoying a bowl of oatmeal every morning can be a healthy choice, but even with the range of extras you can add to your bowl, after a while your taste buds crave a change — and perhaps more texture. All grains offer a unique taste, texture and nutrition profile. Mixing it up will keep things exciting and give you a wider range of the nutrients you need. The only downside is that most require some simmer time on the stove, so if you want the same speedy convenience as instant oats, prepare a batch the night before. Then all you have to do is pop a bowl in the microwave the next morning.

See how these five grains and seeds stack up against steel-cut oats — which provide 170 calories, 3 grams fat, 29 grams carbs, 10 grams fiber and 7 grams protein in every dry quarter cup — and never eat a boring breakfast again.

Amaranth

Amaranth is full of iron, potassium and calcium, and packs even more protein than quinoa, so it’ll help keep your stomach from growling during your morning meeting. With a mild and nutty or earthy flavor, amaranth flour goes well in crepes, muffins and pancakes, or boil the grain on the stove and top with banana or peach slices and cinnamon. Nutrition: 190 calories, 3.5g fat, 34g carbs, 7g fiber, 8g protein.

Teff

About one in five young women is anemic because of a lack of iron, which can leave you fatigued and set you up for mind-crushing headaches and dizzy spells. Red meat isn’t the only way to boost your intake: A serving of teff provides 20 percent of your daily iron, plus 10 percent of your bone-supporting calcium. White teff has a chestnut-like taste, while darker teff is earthier with a hint of hazelnut. Enjoy teff cooked with agave syrup and chopped dates and walnuts. Nutrition 180 calories, 1g fat, 37g carbs, 4g fiber, 7g protein.

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