Whole Grains

Whole grains are an important part of our healthy recipes and the healthy plate. They provide the fiber and give creative texture needed to satisfy our expectation of taste with a health benefit.

What is a whole grain? Why are they healthier than the white, refined, and polished looking versions of bread, cereals, pastas, and pasties? The answer is that they are intact. The seed or kernel of a grain consist of three parts; the bran, the germ and the endosperm. Refining removes the outer layer and the germ of the grain (the bran), which is where most of the nutrients are located.  According to the Whole Grain Council 25% of a the protein is lost, along with at least seventeen key nutrients.

How do you know that a product contains whole grains? Look for the word "whole" on the ingredient list. Also look for the FDA-approved health claim: "Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers." This is can be found on whole-grain products that contain at least 51% whole grain ingredients (by weight) and are also low in fat. Whole grains are naturally a darker shade of brown. However when cooked they become lighter.

Whole grains are heart healthy and diabetic friendly. They provide the much needed fiber and help regulate blood sugar levels. They are the major source of complex carbohydrate foods containing protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Many of them can be cooked in a rice cooker.









(pronounced keen waah)






A gluten free complete protein. It contains lysine and the amino acids. Used in breads, cereals, pancakes, and muffins.

Cooking tips: Use 1 3/4 cups of water for 1 cup of amaranth. Simmer for 25 minutes. Amaranth also comes in the form of flour, which can replace some of the white flour in your favorite recipes.

A chewy, slightly sweet texture. Used in soups and stews. A cholesterol lowing grain.

Cooking tips: Use 3 cups of water per 1 cup of barley. Simmer for 90 minutes or until tender.

Used in pancakes, soba noodles, and cereals.

Cooking tips: Use 1.5 cups of water per 1 cup of buckwheat. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Organic whole corn is still an acceptable grain.  Best in muffins, polenta (see Recipe), tortilla, and popcorn.

Better protein when mixed with beans according to the whole grain council.

A type of wheat that has buttery flavor. Rich source of protein, vitamins (especially Vitamin  E), and minerals. It does contain gluten.

Can replace rice, and included in baked goods, and cereals.

A gluten-free grain that can be used in a variety of ways. It can be a flour or a rice replacement. It can be made into polenta or mashed.

Cooking tips: 1.5 cups of water to 1 cup of grain. Simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes for a light, fluffy rice-like texture.

A whole grain that is always intact which provides us with more nutrients. Good as a cereal, healthy cookies. Can be regular oats,  instant, or steel cut.

Scientifically proven to lower bad cholesterol, and reducing risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.

A small round seed that cooks quickly. It’s perfect as a substitute for rice as a side dish or in soups and stews. Combines well with vegetables (see corn and quinoa recipe) and can be served chilled in a salad. Excellent source of protein.
Cooking tips: Rinse the grains to remove bitterness. Use 1.5 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa. Simmer 25 to 30 minutes.

Brown rice is the whole grain. Easy to digest and rich in nutrients. Can be prepared in advance and refrigerated. Use within 4 to 5 days.

Cook 2 cups water to 1 cup of rice. Replace water with vegetable broth or saute' with chopped onion prior to adding water.

Found in cereals and breads. Good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

It can be a flour. It is a form of wheat but less dense.  It is in whole grain breads and cereals. 

Cooking tips: 1.5 cups of water to 1 cup of grain. Simmer 50 to 60 minutes. Spelt flour can be used as a substitute for wheat flour. Reduce water by 25%.

The most popular of all the grains. In tact in it says "whole" wheat. Eat in small amounts.

Used in breads, cereals and other baked goods. High in gluten.


WebMD -



Whole Grain Council


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