Whole grains

Whole grains are thought of as more healthy than refined grains. Not only does whole grains provide fiber but other nutrients and antioxidants as well. Make sure the ingredient list says 100% whole grains.

Grains to try:
Amaranth: Gluten-free amaranth is considered a complete protein because it contains all of the essential amino acids. Additionally, it’s a good source of minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc, plus it offers some calcium and potassium.

Barley: Barley is a fiber powerhouse. Hulled barley has more fiber-rich bran than pearled barley, although both contain beta-glucan soluble fiber that “keeps blood sugar levels stable which is important for kids to give them sustained energy,” says Begun. Barley also contains selenium, a powerful antioxidant. Barley is great added to soups or used to make a pilaf or a hot cereal.

Oats: Oats contain beta-glucan fiber which lowers cholesterol and strengthens the immune system. Oats boast polyphenol compounds that have antioxidant and anti-itch properties. Besides oatmeal for breakfast, oats can be added as a binder to meatloaf and burgers. Oats also work well in baked goods, a crunchy topping to crisps and crumbles, and in casserole dishes.

Quinoa: Like amaranth, quinoa is a complete protein and gluten free. Moreover, quinoa is an excellent source of magnesium and zinc, and a good source of iron and folate. ” Before cooking, use a fine mesh strainer to rinse the quinoa and remove the outer coating, called saponin, which can give the quinoa a bitter taste. Mix quinoa with beans or nuts for a tasty side dish, or add to salads and stir-fries.

Teff: Of these five grains, gluten-free teff is highest in calcium and protein. Teff is also a rich source of fiber, iron and thiamine. Teff grains are tiny and have a mild nutty flavor. Cook the grain into hot cereal or polenta or mix teff with veggies for a side dish.

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