Supermarkets now feature a vast range of alternatives to regular pasta and white rice. How do you choose? Here are six with great health benefits and they're easy to use, too.
Whole wheat pasta
What: A wholegrain pasta made from durum wheat. It's high in fibre and has a higher vitamin and mineral content than white pasta. It's also a good source of B vitamins, manganese and magnesium.
Why: Being a wholegrain, whole wheat pasta can help fight against diseases such as heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes and obesity. It's also kilojoule dense and low GI, which means it keeps your feeling fuller for longer.
How: Enjoy it exactly the same way you would white pasta.
What: Traditionally the pasta of northern Africa, couscous is made from durum wheat semolina. It's an excellent source of thiamin and iron.
Why: Couscous is quick and easy to prepare and not as heavy as some grains.
How: Couscous is a great alternative to pasta, rice or potatoes. It can be stirred through salads or used as a base for chicken or meat.
What: Polenta or cornmeal is a yellow-white, coarse flour made from corn. It is a good source of thiamin and iron, and a moderate source of protein and niacin.
Why: A great option for people with a wheat allergy or a gluten intolerance. And it's quick: instant varieties take 5 minutes to make. It's a creative way to get more grains into your diet.
How: Polenta is extremely versatile and can be used to make cornbread, chips, muffins, stuffing for chicken or as a side dish with meat.
What: An aromatic long-grain rice, Basmati has a unique fragrance and is traditionally used in Middle Eastern dishes. Basmati is a good source of non-haem iron, selenium, thiamin and niacin.
Why: Basmati rice, like Doongara rice, has a lower GI than other varieties. Low GI foods help to maintain optimal blood sugar levels.
How: As a drier rice, basmati rice grains stay separate, making it ideal for curries, pilaf, biryani and other Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. Add whole spices, nuts, dried fruit, vegetables, beans or meat and you have yourself a tasty dish.
What: Made from cornmeal and water, this pasta is lower in protein than wheat pasta.
Why: This pasta is ideal for people with coeliac disease or wheat allergies, as it is gluten- and wheat-free. Corn pasta also contains the eye-protecting carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.
How: Corn pasta can be used in exactly the same way as regular pasta. It's great in salads or as a main meal, but be careful not to overcook it as it will go mushy.
What: Is a light and easy-to-digest grain. It has a high protein content compared with other grains, and contains all the essential amino acids, making it a good choice for vegetarians. Quinoa is a low GI carbohydrate.
Why: Quinoa also contains magnesium, which is good for heart health.
How: Quinoa can be substituted for any grain in almost any style of recipe. You can eat quinoa on its own, through a salad or in a soup. It can also be enjoyed in summer as a dessert.