In this post I will help you understand what Millets are and How to Introduce Millets in Your Diet.
Millets are the SUPER WONDER GRAIN – Grass- Cereal of food world! Actually something in between all of that and that’s what makes them so awesome!
Did you know UN Food and Agriculture Organisation has decided to observe 2023 as the International Year of Millets? Well now you know!
What are Millets
If you don’t already know about them then let me introduce you to them!!
Millets are a group of small-seeded cereal grasses.The most common types of millets used are Ragi/Finger Millet, Bajra/Pearl Millet, Jowar/ Sourgham and Foxtail Millet/ Kangni.
Though it has been extensively cultivated and consumed in India since centuries, in the last few decades they ended up being tagged as the poor people’s food ,thanks to the Green revolution and mass production of Wheat and Rice.
Chances are, your grandma probably ate lots of Millets.I know that Bajra Roti and Jowar Khichadi were a staple in my grandma’s diet but somehow marketing and consumerism got in the way of the knowledge transfer.These little cereals may be called something else in your local language, and in all probability you would have heard of them.
It is only after a few decades of green revolution, that we have realised how UNBALANCED our diets have become with just wheat and rice as the cereal sources.It’s time to go back to our roots, learn from our ancestors and incorporate these nutrient packed millets back into our diets!
Why eat Millets
Millets are Environmentally Sustainable
Millets are low input crops- they need very little water, almost no pesticides and can grow extremely well in dry arid regions.
These hardy crops have a short growing season-are literally ready to harvest plants in as little as 65 days which makes them all the more sustainable unlike Rice and Wheat.
Millet are Extremely Nutritious
Millets are highly nutritious,Gluten Free,Mineral Rich, non allergic & easy to digest Cereals.Even after hulling, they stay very high in fiber and nutrients.Look at the table below to understand the nutrient composition of Millets with respect to rice and wheat.
Out of all these millets,Ragi OR FINGER MILLET is truly a wonder millet- it has 30 times more Calcium than rice!!! Sprouting the Ragi gives a boost to it’s Vitamin C which makes the Iron bio available and hence easily absorbable.
Are Millets Gluten Free?
Millets do not have any gluten which makes them an ideal substitute for people with Gluten intolerance and Celiac disease.They are easy to digest and non allergic, that’s the reason why millets life Ragi are given as first foods to children.
How to Introduce Millets in our diets
The practical bit of “How to Introduce Millets in our diets” lies in the recipes.Frankly you can do endless things with millets but to start with lets focus on some easy key recipes first!
Millets can be ground into a flour and used to make crepes, pancakes , dosas and even cakes!
Sprouted Ragi flour often is cooked with water ,ghee and jaggery into a highly nutritious porridge for infants.
Millets like foxtail and Little millets imitate couscous when boiled in water.They can be used instead of rice in making Pulavs, fried rice and khichadi.Millets can also be used to make the everyday dosa/Idly batter instead of rice.
For more everyday Millet recipe inspirations- follow my millet board on PINTREST
Recipes using Millets
Here are some recipe examples for you!
Ragi or Finger Millet Recipes
Foxtail Millet recipes
Where to Buy Millets
You can buy millets in most local stores.Ragi, Jowar and Bajra are very easily available online also.
Stores like Amazon,Flipkart,Natures basket also have a great collection of Millets.