Have you heard that whole grains are healthier for us? This is not a myth! Whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet. Nature never intended for white bread or white products to enter our bodies. Turning the grain from brown to white only happens in a factory. In this process, the outside bran layer and germ are removed. The bran and germ contain oil, and by removing these components of the seed it can increase the shelf life of the end product. In this process all the vitamins and minerals have been removed, and must be fortified back in. How do you know if it is whole grain or not? The only way is to look on the back of the label under the ingredients. Look for 100% whole wheat to be listed first, which is the most abundant ingredient.
There are many other options besides wheat to choose from. The following grains are perfect for those people trying to build a diverse and great tasting diet rooted in guidance of healthier eating. Try incorporating these whole grain products into your diet this month:
- Spelt- Spelt is a cousin of wheat. Spelt has a nutty like flavor. It does contain a little bit of gluten. If you have a celiac disease this is not for you, but is can be tolerated by some people with minimal gluten intolerances. Spelt can be used in the same way as wheat in bread and pasta making. Spelt has an excellent source of manganese, copper and zinc. Spelt is also very high in protein and fiber.
- Teff- These tiny grains are the staple grain of Ethiopia. Teff is completely gluten free. 1 cup of cooked Teff contains all the iron you would need in a day, 9.75 grams of protein and 7.1 grams of fiber. You can use Teff flour to make pancakes, banana bread, muffins and even porridge.
- Amaranth- Amaranth can be comparable to corn, and can be popped just like popcorn! It can also be flaked like oatmeal. It is very high in fiber, protein, iron, and calcium. Amaranth packs a lot in its tiny seed. Amaranth is free of gluten. Amaranth flour can be used to bake cookies, breads and make pasta.
- Quinoa- Quinoa is a protein powerhouse. It is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids. Quinoa can be used as a replacement for rice or its flour can be used in baking. Quinoa is gluten free, and is good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, folate, and phosphorus.
- Millet- Millet is very digestible and good for those on a wheat free diet. Millet is as good source of manganese, phosphorus and magnesium as well as protein and fiber. It can be prepared like rice and made into a pilaf, and can be added to soups our casseroles.