Depending on your allergies, you may have to look for alternatives to grains such as wheat, gluten grains and rice. Here are a couple alternatives to those, some of which you may be familiar with and possibly some new ones.
Amaranth is a very mild grain that is quite similar to wheat when it’s prepared (we really like it).
Buckwheat is a very dark grain that has a heavy flavor, although it is a very good source of fiber, I have to mix it with another grain (like amaranth) to get my kids to eat it.
Cassava (better known as arrowroot) is found in almost every gluten free snack. It’s just like cornstarch, and really helps your baking stick together and thicken.
Chickpea (garbanzo) can be ground into chickpea flour which is used a lot in Indian cuisine and also made into a tofu (great for those who can’t have soy).
Corn can be corn starch, corn meal, or maize which is just finely ground corn suitable for things like tortilla shells. This is great if you can have it, but remember it’s not a good source of nutrients.
Millet is one of the cereal crops, it is commonly used to make a “porridge cereal” of sorts and is a very good option if you can’t have cream of wheat or oatmeal. It’s also used in third world countries often made into a flat bread.
Montina is a type of flour created from milled Indian rice grass, which is native to the western states. Its not related to rice, but has a growing following in the gluten free world.
Oats (note: oats in the United States can be contaminated with wheat and other grains, so be sure they are gluten/wheat free) Oats are not something we can use, but are a great source of grain for those who can.
Potato flour and starch is another “staple” in most GF diets and recipes. While full of starch and pretty low in nutrients, this is still a great thing to store, because you can always make potato soups (yum!)
Quinoa (keen-wa) is growing by leaps and bounds in popularity. And it has good reason, this is a super grain jam packed full of protein, minerals and amino acids! When rinsed and left whole, we use it in place of rice for my son (who can’t have rice). Ground into a flour, its a great way to sneak in some nutrients to your cooking ;) And more importantly, is found at Wal-Mart next to the Rice-a-Roni :)
Rice is widely found on lists for food storage. While my youngest son can’t have it, the rest of the family can so I usually have this one hand. Brown rice is the only whole grain rice, so this is the best option if you are going to use rice.
Sorghum isn’t something I have ever used, except in syrup form. But, it’s the fifth most important cereal grain in the world. It was ground into flour and was the main alternative to wheat in north China for a long time and I have seen it on many gluten free recipes.
Spelt, I almost left it off this list because it is wheat. But…..Both of my boys are allergic to wheat, but for some reason that neither my doctor nor I can explain, they seem to handle Spelt with flying colors. Even though I use it, I would not suggest using this grain if you have severe reactions to wheat or gluten, since it is from the wheat family.
These are the most easily found and affordable grain alternative’s to wheat. There are other grains out there, for example…Coconut, Almond or any nut flours. These are a delicious in baking things like muffins, etc. but are a little more on the pricey side, so “stocking up”, at least for us, isn’t an option unless I find a crazy good deal. Hopefully this will help some of you come up with options for your grains.