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The question

I was just told that i'm allergic to oatmeal - something i've eaten every day for breakfast for years. can you recommend a good substitute? i miss my hearty warm breakfast.

The answer

If you have sensitivity to oatmeal there are other warm breakfasts that can help you feel satisfied during the morning. Whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, millet, barley, spelt berries, kamut berries and wheat berries are delicious when eaten as a hot cereal. You can buy these grains in natural food stores and many are sold in large grocery stores.

Most of these whole grains take longer to cook than oatmeal, so I suggested cooking the grain in advance and reheating in the morning. Steaming works very well; it does not dry out the cooked grains.

Top your cereal with slivered almonds or chopped walnuts or pecans, berries and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Add yogurt, buttermilk or soy beverage and you've got a hearty warm meal. You might even add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed or chia seeds to boost the omega-3 fat and fibre content of your breakfast.

Here's how these whole grains stack up in terms of nutrition, per ½ cup cooked:

• Amaranth: 144 calories, 5.6 grams protein, 5.6 grams fibre

• Barley (hulled): 136 calories, 4.8 grams protein, 6.4 grams fibre

• Brown rice: 108 calories, 2.5 grams protein, 1.5 grams fibre

• Kamut berries: calories, 6 grams protein, 5 grams fibre

• Millet: 104 calories, 3 grams protein, 1.1 grams fibre

• Quinoa: 127 calories, 4.5 grams protein, 2 grams fibre

• Spelt berries: 130 calories, 5 grams protein, 6 grams fibre

• Wheat berries: 136 calories, 5.5 grams protein, 4 grams fibre

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