Whole grains are all any one is talking about lately! We’ve suddenly watched cereal boxes, frozen foods, and processed foods miracuously become healthier for you since we’ve discovered that whole grains are good for us!
So, here’s the catch! Big corporations figured out that if they market on their packages that their products are now made with whole grains that means pop-tarts, frosted flakes, and frozen pizzas are now good for you! Don’t we all wish it was that simple, because who wouldn’t pick pop-tarts over sprouted toast in the morning if they had the same nutritional value? Most of us would pick the pop-tarts because obviously they taste a lot better than sprouted toast! What the big corporations with incredible and smart marketing teams don’t tell you is that yes their products are now being made with whole grains but are completely loaded with sugar, which breaks down and stores as fat and also causes blood-sugar roller coasters.
So eat more whole grains in their natural, unprocessed form. If you’re going to jump on the whole grain bandwagon, avoid the processed boxed foods and reach for grains like quinoa, wheat berries, Kamut, barley, steel-cut oats, and bulgur wheat. Most of these can be found in your local grocery stores. Grains like Kamut and Bulgur wheat may be a little tougher, but you can find them at a health food store or if you’re lucky enough to have a Whole Foods close by. Whole grains have lots of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Whole wheat has 12% fiber, quinoa has 15%, and Kamut has the highest at 19%. To get the most nutrients from your whole grains, try sprouting them over night before eating them. Sprouting grains will guarantee you the highest level of nutrients!
Whole grains can tend to be a little intimidating, especially if you’ve never tried some of them before. A close friend actually asked me this weekend if I’d do a blog post on how to prepare whole grains. So, this one is especially for you Sofie, and everyone else out there that wants to try some thing new and know it’s actually “really” good for you. Most whole grains can be prepared just like rice, it’s just that simple.
- Wheat berries- they have a nuttier flavor and tend to stay a little more firm and chewier. These are my favorites! I could eat them everyday! Add 1 cup of wheat berries to 2 cups of water. Bring them to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and let them simmer for 20-25 minutes. Drain off any excess water, dress them with salt and pepper and sometimes I drizzle some good olive oil on them and they’re perfect just like that!
- Quinoa- These little rock stars have sky rocketed in popularity, as they should because they are so easy to prepare and so much can be done with this grain. Make sure to rinse them well first and then prepare them just like wheat berries, you can replace your water with vegetable stock to take on more flavorful or richer taste. You can add quinoa to salads, top them off with sautéed or roasted vegetables, and add them to soups to make them heartier.
- Kamut takes a little preparation and time. You should soak the grains over night, it’s not totally necessary but it will take a lot longer to cook if you don’t. Add 3 cups of water to 1 cup of Kamut and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt; let it simmer for 40-45 minutes until tender.
Whole grains can be jazzed up with salt and pepper, tons of fresh herbs and seasonings, even a dash of toasted sesame oil for a little extra taste. Enjoy your whole grains whatever way you wish! Comment and let me know what grains you’ve tried, if you have a special way to prepare them, or if you have a recipe that everyone needs to know about! Enjoy!