Eating Healthy Grains

by Rachelle

Rachelle's question:

I was hoping just to get a quick list of some healthy "grains" to add to recipes for my family. I realize you have a whole list of them on your site already, but are there a few that are extra healthy and easily added to recipes? We are new to eating healthier. We just tried Quinoa and it was great! I add flax seeds to the kids you have any quick pointers? I would really appreciate it!!



Suzy's answer

Hi, Rachelle!

It's exciting to hear that you are eating healthier as a family! It sounds like you have made a good start by adding flax seed to oatmeal (make sure they are freshly ground), and by including quinoa in your menus. (You probably know this but, just in case, be sure to rinse the quinoa really well before you cook it, to get rid of the bitter tasting saponins that may cling to the grains.)

Kashi gives you seven grains and seeds.

Have you tried cooking with Kashi? This is a seven-grain product that you can cook as a hot cereal or add to soups that gives you the benefit of a variety of grains and seeds. (Kashi is a brand, but I am specifically referring to the hot cereal product found with the oatmeal at the grocery store.)

Amaranth is often overlooked.

Amaranth is another healthy grain that is often overlooked. Cook whole amaranth in water in a ratio of one cup grain to 2 1/2 cups water for about 20 minutes and serve as hot cereal or pilaf.

Pancakes can be healthy.

One of my favorite ways to incorporate a variety of seeds and grains into our diet is by making pancakes. Traditional American pancakes made with white flour and sugar and topped with artificial maple syrup are not anyone's idea of a healthy food.

However, if you replace some of the white flour with buckwheat flour, or other flours, such as amaranth flour, coconut flour, ground flax or chia seed, and serve them with real maple syrup, they are much better for you and may become an easy-to-prepare family favorite. (I also add some apple bits, blueberries or cranberries along with chopped nuts. My husband thinks my pancakes are to die for, but he may be prejudiced!)

Replace white four with whole grain flours.

If you make your own breads and muffins, you can add whatever combination of ground flax, chia, flours, such as barley flour and millet flour, and even sprouted legumes that you choose, to increase the nutritional value of the finished product.

We have a cottage industry in our area, run by a family that makes wonderful "Ezekiel" bread which contains sprouted grains and legumes. You can also buy commercially prepared breads that are multi-grain. (Be sure to read the ingredient list to make sure the bread is not made with High Fructose Corn Syrup or too many other chemicals.)

Rice is a great choice if it's brown or wild.

I often serve brown rice or wild rice as a side dish, especially with baked vegetables or dishes that have a sauce. Brown rice can also be served as a hot cereal with milk, raisins, chopped apple, cinnamon and even a bit of honey, if more sweetness is desired.

Variety is the spice of life.

The point is that you can use whole grains in a wide variety of ways, especially to replace white flours and white flour products. Since each grain has a unique set of nutrients to contribute to your diet, eating a variety will help insure that your family is getting all the nutrients they need to be healthy and feel well.

I hope this helps, Rachelle, and thank you for your interest in eating healthy and for visiting our site!

Eat and be healthy with my warmest regards,

Suzy Staywell

Nutrition page

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