Grains. Carbs. Gluten. OH MY!
Going gluten free continues to be one of THE biggest nutrition trends.
This isn’t a discussion about gluten free, though. We covered gluten free eating in the past. Rather, today’s blog covers a few flours that have some unique properties, above and beyond just carbs. Though, coincidentally, each of those mentioned below are gluten free if you follow a gluten free diet.
And each have more protein than all purpose flour (and aren’t stripped of their nutrients). They also have more fiber (to the tune of 12 grams for coconut flour)!
Makes that seemingly nutrition less bread a lot better. Right?
Let’s explore a few options — options you can find in any grocery store or even make yourself.
This is fairly new on the mainstream scene. As the name implies, it comes from the meat (white part) of the coconut. It’s much, much drier than traditional flour or whole wheat flour, so you certainly can’t do equal substitutions and even get remotely the same end product. I have swapped half the regular flour with coconut flour before and that seemed to work. I also so a suggestion to add one extra egg for every 1/4 cup of coconut flour when substituting for regular flour. Haven’t tried this, yet, so can’t confirm.
Coconut seems to work well in foods that have a lot of moisture from other ingredients (bananas, like in banana bread or eggs, for example).
For just 1/4 cup it packs a wholloping 12 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.
This is 3 times the amount of fiber and an equal amount of protein.
For those who are avoiding gluten, coconut flour is gluten free.
We love almond flour at the Mohr House. It’s great in breads, muffins and similar products. Though using it when baking certainly makes a different product, one that burns more easily. But have no fear. There are plenty of great recipes online that use almond flour for a fantastic end product.
Almond flour boasts an impressive 6 grams of protein for just 1/4 cup and 3 grams of fiber. Because it comes from almonds, which are naturally high in healthy fats, it’s also much higher in fat. We like this kind of fat, though, so eat up!
Like coconut flour, almond flour is also gluten free.
You’ve likely heard of the grain, quinoa. It came on the scene with "great vengeance and curious anger" (said in a Samuel Jackson voice from Pulp Fiction) … and for good reason. It’s a complete protein. It’s high in fiber. And it has a great flavor.
Well, grind up quinoa and what do you get?
Quinoa Flour. While not quite as high in fiber as coconut flour or as high in protein as almond flour, it certainly packs a more nutritious punch than all purpose or whole wheat flours. This is one we have only explored a bit. It certainly gives a more "grainy" texture to whatever you use it for, but that can lend itself really well to many products.
One quarter cup of quinoa flour isn’t quite as high in protein or fiber as the other two mentioned. But definitely nothing to sneeze at.
At 1/4 of a cup, quinoa flour offers 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. Still not bad when you consider how little 1/4 cup is and that most recipes call for double if not 4 times that amount (so 1/2 or 1 cup).
Sticking with a gluten free theme, this flour too is gluten free, if that’s the type of diet you follow.
Simple recipe searches can surely bring up any number of ideas for each of these three flours and many, many more.
Nutrition should be about exploration.
Try new flavors.
Try new foods.
And whatever you try … try to have fun doing it!