Grains seem to be getting a bad rap these days. We’ve got the gluten-free folks on one side, kicking wheat and oats to the curb. We’ve got the corn kings out there, ruining our corn with GMOs then further tarnishing the reputation of an American classic by mutating it into high fructose syrups and mysterious food additives. It’s a sad state of affairs.
But, I’m on the soapbox selling whole grains today, here to remind everyone that there is some good to grains. What’s more, I’m not settling for the standard brown rice and oatmeal spiel that normal follows such an introduction. Though those are great, they’re not the only grains that benefit your health. My friends, we are gathered here today to appreciate the lesser known grains available in your local supermarket, to hum their praises, and look for ways to get them on our dinner plates more often.
So, without further ado to do, here are some whole grains you should keep an eye out for:
Most beloved for its role in brewing beer, barley is also quite a tasty whole grain with a nutty flavor and lots of nutritional benefits, such as soaring levels of manganese, which is important for the bones, blood sugar levels and skin. And, like most whole grains, it has loads of dietary fiber. Just make sure to get hulled rather than pearled, which has been stripped of nutrients much the way white rice is. Try Healthy Barley-Lentil Soup with Potatoes.
Buckwheat, despite its suggestive name, is actually one of these poser grains, like amaranth and quinoa, which is really a seed. Never mind that though. It’s a quality food with lots of healthy attributes. It can be used for a tasty breakfast porridge, and it makes some killer pancakes. These Raw Sprouted Buckwheat Bars (akin to Rice Crispy Treats) are a great way to try out buckwheat.
When looking for a low calorie whole grain option, bulgur wheat is the go-to. It has much less calorie-wise than the equivalent amount of rice but about twice the amount of fiber, as well as a good gob of protein. Plus, it’s generally a pretty cheap pick-up and cooks really quickly for those times when you want to make something, well, really quickly. These Bulgur with Curcuma, Veggies, Nuts, and Cranberries are a unique and delicious way to enjoy this healthy grain.
That’s right, I said it! Corn used to be something fairly healthy, famous as a decent source of niacin (B3). It’s not the plants fault that big ag has bungled it up and spat it back out as something genetically shocking and nutritional backwards. What’s more, organic corn is fighting back with a vengeance, keeping the flame burning on the once good family name. Tired of corn on the cob? Learn How to Make Vegan Cornbread.
Renowned for tasty whiskeys and delicious Russian breads, whole rye is a delicious addition to your pantry. It’s another fine source of dietary fiber and manganese, helps with preventing gallstones and lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. Plus, rye and pumpernickel are breads that help you get in these nutritious grains in one or two servings. They’re also super tasty, crazy filling and easy to bake at home. (Always choose dark rye to ensure you’re eating whole grain rye, not highly processed rye.) Try Rye Spaghetti with Hazelnuts, Zucchini, and Pumpkin if you’re tired of getting your whole grain from bread and porridges.
Check out these other articles to help you with your upcoming whole grain adventures, and good luck on them.
- Your Guide to Cooking Perfect Whole Grains
- Eating Gluten Free? Here are the Best Foods to Try
- Eating Whole Grains: Health Benefits and a Recipe
How do you get your whole grains in each day?
Lead Image Source: Whole Grain Banana Date Flax Muffins