3 Cheap Ingredients: Grains

I’m back with another showcase about my favourite, cheap ingredients. As before, you can click the links to see more Boo Wholefoods recipes. I got a lot of positive feedback on my Fruits and Vegetables post, so I thought I would continue the series with another big food group; grains.

Carbs are life. They give you energy, keep you full and taste delicious. My carb intake gets lower with each meal throughout the day, but I still eat some form of carb with every meal. If you’re looking to lose weight, reducing your carb intake can be helpful, especially if you’re not weighing your grains in the first place. I’ve given my portion sizes as a reference, but go with what you know. If I’d had an active day, I would bump my carbs up too.

Some of the ways I like to enjoy my carbs.

At the moment, I’m having a bowl of porridge every weekday morning, and sometimes weekends too! I buy Sainsbury’s organic porridge oats. I have a severe gluten intolerance but I’ve never had any tummy troubles with these. I measure out 35g for my breakfast, but then I add ground flax seed and chia seeds to bulk it up. Even the organic oats are cheap, £1.60 for a 750g bag, which works out at 7p a portion. Not bad for such a filling breakfast, especially when you add peanut butter or bananas or mixed seeds or maybe all of the above. Oats also find their way into my baking. I’m obsessed with flapjacks and they add great texture to pancakes too. I’ve seen savoury oat bowls, but I think I’d rather keep things sweet with this grain.

Not so for my next favourite carb, it’s all about the savoury flavours with brown rice. As I don’t particularly like gluten free bread (it’s fine on occassion, but full of rubbish and I’m not very inventive with it), I tend to have brown basmati rice at lunch times. It’s a wholegrain, which can be hard to find on a gluten free diet. It’s cheap, retailing at £1.70 for a 1kg bag, plus it’s packed with vitamins and minerals. It depends on what we’re having with it to judge how much I make, the standard is 60g dried rice per person. I stir it through Orange Curry or Mexican Beans to make lunch boxes that will last all week. I must say, I don’t reheat my rice, I would rather have it cold. We have rice in the evenings too, normally alongside a fiery chilli or Spiced Lamb.

It’s a bit sneaky, using a brown rice product as my third option, but it really is my next favourite carb source and it’s so different from grains of rice. I’ve tried many gluten free pastas in my time, but my favourite is brown rice pasta. For me, it’s the closest thing to “real”/wheat pasta that I can remember – and Lawrence will happily eat it to, which can’t be said for all gluten free things. I weigh 90g pasta for my and 120g for Lawrence. My favourite brand is Doves Farm Brown Rice Spaghetti, which is getting increasingly difficult to get hold of and its price is rising – currently selling for £2.10 for 500g. I’ll still keep buying it though, because it makes the best spaghetti bolognese, as well as noodles in my favourite satay recipe. They’ve recently started selling this Suma version, which is quite a nice substitute. Gluten free pasta is an acquired taste cold, but it helps if it’s drowned in a sauce, like ratatouille or pesto. Mmm, pesto, that’s the best thing to have with brown rice pasta.


You could buy a bag of each of these for little over a fiver. And they will last a long time, especially if stored in sealed containers. What’s your favourite grain? What do you like to have for breakfast? Tell me your favourite morning meal in the comments section below, or come say hi on Instagram. I upload foodie pics daily.


9 thoughts on “3 Cheap Ingredients: Grains

  1. I’m into oatmeal for breakfast these days too, cooked in non-dairy milk or soaked prune juice or whatever! I often eat it with banana slices.
    I like whole grain brown rice, and red rice (expeeeeensive 😩) and quinoa in cold salads (as you can tell from my blog). Millet is nice if eaten with something “saucy” to make up for its dryness. My husband’s fave is white (alas) basmati rice. As we steam it I place both his grain and mine side by side in the basket, they cook together without mixing. So everybody is happy!
    I agree with you, GF store-bought bread is a no-go. I am, was, working on a new bread recipe that you might like. Can’t wait to be able to knead again!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: 3 Cheap Ingredients: store cupboard essentials | Boo Wholefoods

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