Nutrition News to Help you Be Well and Live Well
“Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain!” In honor of those amber waves of grain, this
month we will take a look at the goodness of grains. Grains have been a food staple for many cultures around the world for thousands of years. In more recent years, grains have tended to take on a negative reputation, mainly their refined counterparts. Whole grains, however, offer a myriad of health benefits including better weight control, and reduced risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, colorectal cancer, and heart disease.
Unlike their refined counterparts which are comprised of the innermost starchy part of the grain, whole grains are fully intact of their original form which includes the bran and germ, making whole grains higher in fiber and nutrients such as manganese, folate, selenium, copper, magnesium, thiamin and vitamin B6. Whole grains also have a lower glycemic index than most refined grains. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar. Foods higher in fiber, protein and fat typically have a lower glycemic index, and other foods eaten in the same meal will also affect how quickly blood sugar rises. Still, some people like to use the glycemic index as a tool to help them manage their blood sugar, or for weight control. Whole grains have much to offer, and there are many varieties to try, so read on to learn more and explore some tasty recipes!
By Sally Stegemann, MS, RD, LD
Rice: Rice is the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa. While brown rice does require a longer cooking time than white rice, the result is a nuttier, slightly chewier and satisfying texture, which is well worth the extra time. Many varieties abound, including brown basmati rice which releases its trademark “popcorn”-like aroma as it cooks.
Quinoa: Quinoa are the edible seeds of a flowering plant in the amaranth family. A unique quality of quinoa is that, unlike most plant foods, it contains all nine essential amino acids that are required by our bodies to build proteins. Quinoa seeds have a slightly bitter tasting coating, so they should be rinsed prior to cooking. Some commercially packaged quinoa products come already pre-rinsed, so look for that on the package.
Barley: Similar in taste and appearance to oats, barley is also an excellent source of soluble fiber which can help reduce cholesterol in the blood. Barley is versatile and can be used in anything from soups, to breakfast items to hearty side dishes or salads.
Wheat: Wheat is from the grass species Triticum, and includes thousands of other cultivars such as semolina, durum, and spelt. Popular wheat products include couscous, pasta and bulgur. Bulgur is naturally whole grain, as it is made by boiling wheat berries, then drying and cracking it. Pasta is by far one of the most popular wheat products and is available in so many different varieties, including whole grain, omega-3 enriched, and bean or other plant protein enriched types. Find the type that suits your needs, or switch it up by using different varieties in different recipes!
Curried Chicken-Rice Salad
1 (10 oz) package frozen microwavable brown rice (such as Birds Eye)
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (about 1 pound)
1 1⁄2 cups chopped Gala (or similar) apple (about 1 medium)
1⁄2 cup chopped celery
1⁄4 cup cherry-flavored sweetened dried cranberries
Green leaf lettuce leaves (optional)
- Prepare rice according to package directions. Spread rice in a shallow pan; place in freezer 8-10
minutes to cool.
- While rice chills, combine yogurt, curry powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add chicken and next 3
ingredients to yogurt mixture, stirring until coated.
- Stir chilled rice into chicken mixture. Spoon chicken salad onto lettuce leaves, if desired. Yield: 6
servings (serving size: 1 cup)
Recipe Source: Oxmoor House
Quinoa Egg Bowl with Pecorino
Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables and Barley
Whole Wheat Couscous with Parmesan and Peas