Buckwheat is your new health food. Cereal can be a healthy breakfast – but not the sugar-laden kind. Healthy cereals can be found in your grocery store though. Almost everyone now knows the health benefits of oatmeal. But eating oatmeal every day can get boring. Time to mix it up!
Three of my favorite healthy breakfast cereal staples are amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat. Don’t get concerned – buckwheat doesn’t actually have any wheat in it and it’s not related to wheat; so it’s great for gluten-free folks. But, I get that the name is pretty confusing.
Today – let’s focus on buckwheat.
Buckwheat – What is it?
Buckwheat is commonly called a pseudocereals – just like quinoa and amaranth. It’s not a grain and it doesn’t grow on grasses. Buckwheat – as well as all pseudocereals are actually seeds. It is actually processed into a number of foods like tea, flour and noodles. People think of it as a grain because it is usually used in the same fashion as grains . . . but, I swear it’s actually a seed. Buckwheat groats are the raw kernels with their shells removed. They are used in much the same way as rice and other grains. If toasted, buckwheat is known as “kasha” and becomes one of the few alkalizing “grains”. Toasting it helps create a nutty flavor.
A bit of grinding/chopping either raw or kasha grouts helps make the creamy buckwheat cereal of today’s recipe. If you like a hardier cereal (think grapenuts) use twice as much water as buckwheat and a touch of sea salt, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Add some fresh fruit, nuts, and milk alternative for a super breakfast.
Buckwheat is low (to medium) on the glycemic index, which measures how quickly a food raises the blood sugar.
It provides more antioxidants than most other grains. Rutin, a bioflavonoid found in buckwheat, strengthens capillaries and blood vessels, reduces blood pressure, and increases circulation in the hands and feet. It is a powerful antioxidant against damage from free radicals and a very good source of manganese.
It has a fair amount of insoluble fiber, which your body cannot digest and is fermented by gut bacteria in the colon. I know that doesn’t sound so amazing, but it really is. This improves gut health and is great for your colon.
It isn’t super high in protein but has a well-balanced amino acid profile so the protein is very high quality.
It is richer in minerals than many common grains and the minerals are very well absorbed because of a relative low level of phytic acid. You can make it even lower by soaking it (which also means us use less water when cooking it).
Creamy vs Grouts
There’s more healthy benefits to eating the grouts but they can also be a pretty big first step for people transitioning to a healthy breakfast cereal. So, creamy buckwheat may be a better first step. Yes, it’s a bit more processed but no more than oatmeal. Personally, I like Bob’s Red Mill Organic Creamy Buckwheat Cereal because it uses the raw grouts. Of course, you can always chop or grind your own grouts too. But, I think Bob’s is a good starting step. Plus, here I’ve added in some fun textures and flavors that will help you enjoy this healthy breakfast.
Creamy Buckwheat Cereal
- ¼ cup creamy buckwheat cereal or coarsely ground grouts
- 1 T chia seeds
- ¾ cup milk or milk alternative
- 2 t almond butter
- 2/3 of an apple
- ½ t ground ginger
- ½ t cinnamon
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cloves
- Cook creamy buckwheat according to directions. Include the recommended amount of salt.
- While the cereal simmers, pulse apple and almond butter in a food processor until a chunky consistency.
- Combine cooked cereal with chia seeds and milk or milk alternative.
- Fold the apple mixture into the buckwheat.
- Mix in spices.
- Delicious both warm and cold.
Top with dried fruit or chopped nuts if desired.