Great Grains

Whole grains are packed with vitamins,minerals,and fiber and shine nutritionally compared to white rice or pasta, plain white bread or processed cereals. Researchers have recently discovered that whole grains contain phytochemicals,
compounds like lignans, flavonoids and saponins which may play key roles in lowering risk of heart disease,diabetes and cancer. A serving is approximately 1 oz. or 1/2 cup cooked.

Amaranth:  This protein-rich grain-like food is a good source of fiber, vitamin E, calcium and iron. Amaranth seeds have a pleasant peppery flavor and are well tolerated by people sensitive to wheat or gluten. If you don’t like its porridge-like consistency, cook a small amount with another grain, following the cooking directions for the predominate grain. TO COOK: Cook 1 cup amaranth in 3 cups water for 1/2 hour.

Barley:  This tiny oval grain has a mild nutty flavor and through commonly used in soups and stews, can also be served as a side dish or in salads. It is rich in complex carbs and contains as much soluble fiber and more total fiber than oats. TO COOK: Add 1 cup barley to 3 cups boiling water. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook 35-40 minutes.

Brown Rice:  The whole unpolished rice grain has a slightly nutty flavor and chewier texture than white rice. Its color comes from the outer layer of nutritious,fiber-richbran. Brown rice retains more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than any other type of rice. TO COOK: Add 1 cup of rice to 2 cups boiling water. Lower heat to simmer, cover and cook for 45-60 minutes.

Buckwheat:  Triangular seeds from a fruit related to rhubarb and sorrel, buckwheat has a nutty flavor and is sold roasted as kasha,whole grain or cracked or ground into flour.  TO COOK: Simmer 1 part groats in 2 parts water for 15 minutes. Medium and fine grades cook, more quickly.

Bulgur:  Granulated whole wheat kernals that have been steamed, dried and cracked into small pieces. Bulgur has a unique nutty flavor and chewy texture. It is used in pilaf,stuffing and salads. TO COOK: Add 1 cup bulgur to 2 cups cold water. Add salt as desired(1/2 teaspoon). Cover, bring to boil;reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Millet:  These tiny pale yellow seeds (most of us think of millet as birdseed)outshine whole wheat and brown rice in some B vitamins, copper and iron. Cooked millet can be used in soups,casseroles, stuffings, and salads. Toasting millet before cooking enhances the flavor. TO COOK: Add 1 cup millet to cups boiling water. Cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes until water is absorbed.

Quinoa:  This ancient Incan staple (pronounced Keen-wah) is delicate in flavor with a crunch texture. Through truly a grainlike food is the fruit of an herb which looks like and cooks up like grain. TO COOK: Rinse 1 cup quinoa thoroughly in a small strainer(this will remove saponin, a natural bitter coating. Place quinoa and 2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer,cover and cook until all water is absorbed(10-15 minutes). Appears clear when done.

Spelt:  A distant cousin to wheat, spelt is a good source of fiber and B vitamins. Available as whole berries or whole or refined flour. Pastas and breads made with spelt can be found in natural foods stores. TO COOK: Cook 1 cup berries in 4 cups water for 30-40 minutes.

Teff:  The world’s smallest grain is an Ethiopian staple and has a sweet, nutty flavor. Teff is especially rich in protein and calcium. It is well tolerated by people sensitive to wheat of gluten. Makes a nutritious hot brakfast cereal. TO COOK: Cook 1 cup teff in 3 cups water for 15-20 minutes.

Triticale:  A relatevely young grain(developed only 200 years ago) is a cross between wheat and rye. Triticale berries are similiar to wheat berries but have a subtle rye flavor. It is an excellent source of fiber,B vitamins and magnesium plus a good source of iron. TO COOK: Cook 1 cup berries in 4 cups water for 1 hour. Triticale flakes cook up into a hot breakfast in about 15 minutes.

Filling the Whole Grain Gap

What is a whole grain? Whole grains are kernels of grain with intact seeds. The seeds are surrounded by the endosperm,a storage packet of starch used to nourish the seed for sprouting, as well as the nutrient-rich germ and bran.

Why eat more? Studies show that there are numerous health benefits linked with eating whole grains, including lowered risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, high blood pressure as well as reduction in weight gain. It’s important to note that the benefits don’t kick in until you eat about three servings a day.

How do you know if a product is a true whole grain? This can be tricky, even for the most nutrition-savvy shopper. Whole grain hunting got easier when whole grain foods began sporting a new seal developed by the Whole Grains Council, a group of about 120 food companies, grain producers and bakeries. Currently, there are a close to 800 products bearing the whole grain symbol, including products from Barbara’s Bakery, Earth’s Best, Frito-lay, General Mills,Kashi Company,Rudi’s Organic Bakery and Quaker Oats. The stamp depicts shafts of wheat and the words WHOLE GRAIN,followed by one of three terms: “Good Source”(at least eight grams of whole-grain ingredients per serving) “Excellent Source” (at least 16 grams of whole-grain ingriedents per serving) or “100%”,reserved for foods where all grain ingredients are whole grain. For an up-to date list of member product brands participating in the Whole Grains Council seal program, visit their website at Before the advent of the whole grains, so the government recommendations advised us to eat about an ounce of food made totally with whole grains, to get about a serving of whole grain.

Gluten Free Grains



Corn Millet





Wild Rice