Your taste buds can get bored if you eat the same old foods everyday. For a little variety, try these new whole grain foods. Your taste buds will thank you for it.
Take your nutrition to a whole new level
BY BRIANNA PETERSON & NEVA COCHRAN, MS, RD, LD
Have you had any quinoa today? How about any amaranth? Bulgur, perhaps? These items have interesting names to say the least, and they could be tasty additions to the whole grain products in your pantry. While the Whole Grains Council has designated September as “Whole Grains Month,” any time is a good time to start enjoying more whole grain foods.
At this point, you may be wondering exactly what a whole grain is. Whole grains contain all the essential parts of the grain seed (that is, bran, germ and endosperm). Whether the grain has been processed or not, it should deliver the same nutrients found in the original seed. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend at least three to five servings of whole grains a day. Even children should consume at least two to three daily servings. Study after study has shown that eating whole grains, instead of refined grains, can reduce your risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, as well as help you maintain a healthy weight.
Now, let’s take a closer look at a few of the less well-known whole grains.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is commonly considered a grain, but is actually a seed that was a staple in the Incan diet. Higher in protein than other grains, it makes a great addition to soups, salads and casseroles and can even be eaten as a breakfast cereal.
Amaranth, once a popular food of the Aztecs, supplies 60 percent of the recommended dietary allowance of iron with just one-fourth cup serving. Amaranth is gluten-free and can be added to gluten-free flour blends, sauces, soups and stews.
Bulgur is a cereal made from several different types of wheat and is most often found in Middle Eastern cuisine. Bulgur can be used in pilaf, soups, baked goods, stuffing and tabbouleh salad. Other whole grains include barley, buckwheat, millet, oats, brown rice, wild rice, rye, sorghum, teff, triticale and, of course, whole wheat.
Nothing New, Just the Basics
If trying a new whole grain isn’t your thing, don’t worry. There are plenty of other ways to add more familiar whole grains to your daily meals.
- Buy whole grain pasta for your weekly spaghetti dish
- Try a cereal with the Whole Grain stamp*
- Make your favorite sandwich with whole wheat bread or bun
- Serve brown rice as a side dish instead of white rice
- Try popping your own popcorn to serve as a snack
- Make your favorite soup recipe with added barley or wild rice
*For recipes and more information on the Whole Grain stamp, visit the Whole Grain Council’s website at www.wholegrainscouncil.org. iT!
Brianna Peterson completed a community nutrition rotation with Neva Cochran in September 2010, and was a dietetic intern at Texas Woman’s University.