Skip rice and wheat, and try millets for dinner!

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It’s the International Year of Millets! One look at social media, and you’ll find people talking about the nutritional benefits of millets. Whether it is for weight loss or detoxification, millets are being promoted as the superfood that you need to include in your diet. There are millet salad, millet soup and even millet veggie burgers! Since these are versatile and healthy, you can have them whenever you want. In fact, an expert suggest that millets can be eaten during dinner.

Millets can be cooked (how to cook millets) in interesting ways. But some wonder if millets are good for dinner or not.

Health Shots connected with nutritionist and diabetes educator Khushboo Jain Tibrewala, who is also the founder of The Health Pantry, to know if millets can be eaten for dinner.

Millets for dinner

We have often heard that it’s best to keep dinner light. In fact, there are many light dinner recipes with millets as the star ingredient.

Millets can be a good dinner option. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Millets are a nutrient-dense, high-fibre and low-glycemic index group of grains that are perfect for dinner for healthy people. But Tibrewala says that those who wish to lose fat or have diabetes, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and fatty liver, millets are ideal for lunch, breakfast or tea-time snacks. This is mainly because millets, although overall healthy, are rich in starch. High starch meals are good when you will be using the energy they release. However, at dinner time, our body slows down naturally, reducing the need for energy. Also, most of us are not too active either. So, this will only lead to increase in fat mass.

Types of millet to be consumed during dinner

It’s not just one type of millet that you can include in your diet. Some of the most popular and easily available ones are finger millet (ragi), sorghum ( jowar), pearl millet (bajra), kodo millet, proso millet, little millet and foxtail millet. They are all good for dinner, says the expert. Ragi is high in calcium, jowar is high in zinc, bajra in iron. However, foxtail has the lowest carbohydrate content, making it ideal for those who are looking at weight management.

An interesting way of eating millets is by making fermented gruels. Tamil Nadu has a dish called Koozh, Rajasthan has Raab and Odisa has Pej. These are all made using the flour of a millet, soaked overnight in water or buttermilk and then cooked to form the gruel and then fermented for half a day before consumption. This method improves the bioavailability of the nutrients, makes the millet easy to digest and suitable for pretty much any one to eat.

Millets are better than rice and wheat. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Health benefits of millets

Millets are the traditional grains of Indian cuisine that have many health benefits. Millets also come under energy boosting desi foods.

• Unlike wheat and rice, millets are generally consumed in their whole form. This ensures that they have more fibre, more B vitamins, more minerals and a lower glycemic index.

• Millets are gluten-free and overall easier to digest. They keep you full longer and are far more satiating.

• They are also known to contain antioxidants that reduce cholesterol levels and aid in the detoxification processes of the liver.

Are millets healthier than white rice, brown rice and wheat?

In most Indian households, you’ll find rice or wheat as their favourite dinner options. The expert says that millets are the better option compared to rice and wheat. Unlike wheat, they are gluten free and unlike all types of rice they have a lower glycemic index. Also, with every millet, you get to taste something different and experiment differently. This makes the diet more creative and inviting for the household!

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