This September I want to take a moment to talk about whole grains. I am positive that whole grains are not something new to all of us, and am most certain you may have already been choosing whole grains products. Have you ever asked why whole grains? There are two different subgroups of grains: whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains consist of entire grain seeds - bran, germ, and endosperm; whereas the refined grains go through the milling process, which removes one or more of the key components of the grains. Because whole grains have their key components intact, they contain higher nutrient values of antioxidants, B vitamins, proteins, minerals, fibers, and healthy fats (whole grain council, NA). These nutrients possess several health benefits, such as reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and obesity; they also promote overall digestive health.
The common whole grains you find at grocery stores are whole-wheat flour, whole-grain (whole-wheat) pastas/breads/cereals, oatmeal, quinoa, rye, rice (brown and colored rice), and wild rice. Not so commonly used whole grains are amaranth, barley, buckwheat, millet, and wheat (spelt, farro, bulgur, kamut, and wheat berries). Next time when you are going to incorporate grains in your meals, I highly recommend you to make your every bite count.
How to incorporate whole grains into your diet?
I have a few tips to share with you on how to introduce whole grains in your diet. 1) Swap OUT your regular pasta/spaghetti/bread/rice for whole grain pasta/spaghetti/bread/brown rice. 2) experiment with different types of grains (maybe try quinoa/millet/barley). 3) Enjoy your snack with whole grains (energy bites, oatmeal muffins).
Now you have learned something about whole grains. Let’s start today to try some whole grains meals/snacks.
Instant pot brown rice chicken biryani: I have been craving chicken biryani for quite some time, now I’ve finally found an opportunity to make it. I adapted the recipe from the Ministry of curry. This recipe is pretty easy, but it requires a slightly longer preparation time (for marinating the chicken and soaking the brown rice). I highly recommend this recipe, it is definitely worth it. TIP: Try this chicken biryani with cucumber raita and/or curry.
Quinoa seafood paella: This dish was prepared by Chef Brendan. The classic recipe for seafood paella is to use a short grain rice, Bomba rice, but we decided to try it out with quinoa. Quinoa contains an excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber. Tip: it tastes much better with a squeeze of lemon.The recipe was adapted from Diabetes Food Hub.
Chipotle quinoa burger: This quinoa burger was made by Chef Brendan. I shared several of the plant-based patties in the past. These chipotle quinoa patties are another veggie burger for you to try. Jessica (my coworker) suggested we can crumble these quinoa patties, and make them into tacos. The recipe was adapted from Pinch of yum.
Carrot cake muffins with oatmeal: I have shared this recipe in the past, in which the carrot cake muffins are made with oatmeal. The muffins are not just easy to make, they taste so GOOD! The recipe was adapted from Gimme some oven.
Energy bites: Energy bites are my go-to kinda snack. The main ingredients are rolled oats, peanut butter (or almond butter), ground flaxseed, and maple syrup/honey. And you can make them more flavorful by adding extract (vanilla/orange/lemon), chopped nuts, cranberries, citrus zest, and/or chocolate chips. The recipe was adapted from all recipes.
Granola cups: are you searching for a creative idea for breakfast/snack? These on-the-go granola cups are super easy to make, attractive, refreshing, and tasty. Fill these granola cups with yogurt and top with fresh/frozen fruits. TIP: you want to fill these granola cups with yogurt just right before serving, otherwise they'll get soggy. The recipe was adapted from all recipes.
Webb, D. (2013). The impact of whole grains on health. Today’s Dietitian, 15 (5), 44. Retrieved from https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/050113p44.shtml
Whole grain council (NA). What’s a whole grain? A refined grains? Retrieved from https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/whats-whole-grain-refined-grain