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These 6 Millet-Based Lunches Will Help Keep Your Blood Sugar Stable

Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer
By Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer
Eliza Sullivan is a food writer and SEO editor at mindbodygreen. She writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She studied journalism at Boston University.
Image by Nataša Mandić / Stocksy
August 26, 2021

Millet is, if you ask us, underrated. Given new research published in Frontiers in Nutrition that named it a notable grain for maintaining blood sugar balance, we're making sure our pantries are stocked with millet to use as the base of all our favorite grain-based meals.

While other ancient grains like quinoa might be a more regular part of our recipe arsenal, millet is just as simple to use and great for a number of delicious recipes—perfect for lunch hour.

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What is millet?

Though it's a member of the cereal family, millet looks quite like a seed. Functional medicine doctor and registered dietitian Elizabeth Boham, M.D., M.S., R.D., told mindbodygreen that it offers 6 grams of protein per serving, and it's also rich in copper, folate, magnesium, and B-complex vitamins—including vitamin B1 (thiamin) and vitamin B3 (niacin).

Plus, the recent research we mentioned found that millet's low average glycemic index (of only 52.7) sets it lower than rice, corn, and refined wheat. The glycemic index of food refers to how much (and how quickly) it will increase blood sugar, and the study found that regardless of how the millet was prepared, blood sugar levels remained relatively low.

6 delicious millet recipes to try.

Its nutrient profile, combined with the fact that it helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels, makes millet the perfect grain to start a balanced lunch—without having to worry about a crash later in the day. With its slightly sweet flavor, it pairs well with a variety of flavors for salads and more.

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1.

Super Simple Millet Pilaf

Use this recipe as a base, and add your favorite protein to top it. The simple mix of vegetables and classic herbes de Provence make it a good option for preparing at the start of the week and then topping with something fresh each day.

Get the recipe here.

2. Wholesome Millet Burgers

The pilaf above is a great base for these perfect vegetarian burgers that are packed with beans, grains, and some veggies. This tasty dish is likely to be a crowd-pleaser—after all, who doesn't like a good burger?

Get the recipe here.

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3.

Spiced Sweet Potato & Adzuki Bean Pilaf

Another take on pilaf, this one comes with beans and sweet potato, too—two of our favorite kitchen staples. The spices for the potatoes include cumin, chili, and chipotle powder. And as with before, this makes a great base for other proteins, but it's less necessary to make it feel like a complete meal.

Get the recipe here.

4.

Salmon + Millet Supergreen Salad

For something a little fresher, try this salmon salad. What makes up the supergreens, you ask? A mix of parsley, dill, chives, and avocado that top this grain bowl with freshness and bonus healthy fats (as if the salmon didn't already have that covered.

Get the recipe here.

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5.

Beet, Apple + Raspberry Salad With Herb Millet

As previously mentioned, millet has a subtle sweetness that allows it to play well with a lot of flavors, but if you want to really accent its taste, try this dish. Beet, apple, and raspberry all bring their own sweet tanginess to the party, and toasted hazelnuts are the perfect crunch.

Get the recipe here.

6.

Warm Sautéed Zucchini Salad With Millet

We're still holding on to summer produce, and this bright dish features a few of our faves: Peas, zucchini, arugula, and radishes bring texture and flavor to the dish, while brine-y feta and olives play off the warm vegetables.

Get the recipe here.

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The bottom line.

Managing blood sugar levels can be an important part of our health. Of course, it starts with diet, but there are also a number of lifestyle shifts we can make to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels—in the kitchen and beyond.

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Eliza Sullivan
Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer

Eliza Sullivan is an SEO Editor at mindbodygreen, where she writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She received a B.S. in journalism and B.A. in english literature with honors from Boston University, and she has previously written for Boston Magazine, TheTaste.ie, and SUITCASE magazine.