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  • Hui Hui Lee, RD/LD

Re-think your grain options


(Image credited to: USDA My Plate, n.d.)


I have been thinking a lot lately about how we eat daily. It is not hard to find that grain products are one of the main food groups that we consume daily. Most of us eat oatmeal, toast, tortillas, breakfast cereals, biscuits, crackers, rice, pasta, cakes/pies, and popcorn almost every day. So I am thinking of taking a few moments to talk about grains. Grains are divided into two subgroups, WHOLE grains and REFINED grains. For our overall health benefits, it is highly recommended to make at least half of our grains whole.


What is the difference between Whole Grains and Refined Grains?

Whole grains are the entire grain that consists of three major components: bran, germ, and endosperm. So, what are the examples of whole grains? Oats, brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, buckwheat, and even corn are whole grains (Webb, 2013).

Refined grains, on the other hand, are the grains being processed to remove the bran and germ. During the milling process, it significantly reduces the grains’ nutritional values (less dietary fiber, iron, B vitamins) (Webb, 2013).



What are the potential health benefits of whole grains?

Whole grains contain a rich source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, lignans, beta-glucan, phytochemicals (rich in bran and germ layers), phytosterols, phytin, and sphingolipids. All of these nutrients have either individual, synergistic, or additive effects on our health in a positive way. The nutrients help protect us against the development of some chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease , metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cancer (Webb, 2013).


There are several ways to increase the consumption of whole grains, which includes:

1. Make a simple swap of your grain selections: choose whole wheat bread/brown rice/whole wheat pasta instead of white bread/rice/regular pasta.

2. Use whole wheat flour or rolled oats for baking instead of white flour

3. Try some delicious whole grain recipes (which I am going to share with you)


Because there is a lot to cover for all of the whole grains (I mean the recipes), I picked two types of whole grains (oats and quinoa) recipes to share.


Blueberry banana oat bread: This delightful blueberry banana oat bread is like dessert, but at the same time, very filling and healthy! I personally like to have this fruity oat bread while sipping on my coffee in the morning! You can pretty much eat this blueberry oatmeal bread anytime of the day. The recipe is adapted from The simple veganista.




Pumpkin quinoa muffins: It is time to start eating some pumpkin items. These high-protein pumpkin muffins are just like the oatmeal bread mentioned earlier. If I were to bake these muffins again, which I will, I would double the amount of spices. I know the recipe I used is vegan friendly, but I swap the flax meal out for an egg. The recipe is inspired by Simply Quinoa.




Savory baked oatmeal: This baked oatmeal recipe fits for most of you who prefer a savory breakfast. When preparing the dish, I used five whole eggs instead of eight egg whites (per the recipe). The recipe is adapted from Quaker.




Quinoa chickpea veggie patties: These nutrient-packed patties are my favorite! It is not just healthy, but also very flavorful and satisfying. You don’t have to always have your sandwich with meat/chicken/fish, try some plant-based patties instead. The recipe is inspired by Feasting at home.




Veggie oatmeal-balls with masala sauce: This is an indian-inspired recipe that will definitely blow your mind with its flavor! These veggie “meatballs” are served in a warm creamy masala sauce. You can have this dish with naan bread, or a bowl of brown rice. This recipe is definitely a keeper! The recipe is adapted from Full of Plants.




Sagey mushroom pecans roast: This is a nutrient-dense, delicious, satisfying vegetarian-version of meatloaf! I know many of you may think it is too early to introduce holiday-type of food, but I think you can have this roast anytime of the year. I serve this loaf with some delicious, umami-flavored mushroom gravy! If you are interested in trying it, please visit Feasting at home for the recipe.




Mexican quinoa stuffed sweet potatoes: our Chef Brendan tried this recipe. This is a vegan friendly recipe. It is an excellent way to eat more fiber without compromising the flavor. The recipe is adapted from Simply Quinoa.





*Most ingredients used for the recipes are sponsored by DRH Health Food and Nutrition department


Reference

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#:~:text=The%20evidence%20for%20the%20health,cancer%20and%20type%202%20diabetes.

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