6 Whole Grains Our Health Coaches Recommend
At some point in your life, you have likely been told to “eat more whole grains.” So what is a whole grain? A whole grain is made up of three parts: the bran, germ, and endosperm. When the grain is processed to make white flour, the bran and germ are both removed along with most of the grain’s nutrients, protein, and fiber. Adding whole grains to your diet isn’t necessarily just swapping out white bread for whole wheat bread or white rice for brown rice—there is a wide variety of whole grains out there for you to try.
Originating from Ethiopia and Eritrea, teff is considered an ancient grain and a staple in many ethnic dishes of this region. It typically has a mild flavor unless it has been fermented and made into a pancake-like food called injera. Teff is high in calcium, and teff flour can be used to make gluten free foods.
This fiber-packed whole grain can potentially lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Barley can be used for a wide variety of dishes such as soup, side dishes, bread, porridge, and even cookies. Traditionally, whole grains take longer to cook than other grains, so it may be helpful to cook barley in large batches and then freeze what you do not need for later meals.
Farro is a whole grain with high amounts of iron and fiber. It has a similar texture to barley, and the two are interchangeable in most recipes. It is recommended that you soak farro overnight in water to reduce cooking time. If you can’t do this, then just soak farro for as much time as you are able.
4. Wild Rice
This type of rice is higher in protein than some other whole grains and is also a good source of magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, fiber, folate, vitamin B6, manganese, and niacin. It is commonly used as a replacement for white or brown rice. You can tell it is done cooking when the kernels burst open.
Sorghum is an ancient grain originating from Africa and is a staple in gluten-free diets. Sorghum can be substituted for wheat flour in many dishes such as bread, cookies, and other baked goods. It can also be popped similar to popcorn.
Bulgur is the cracked and pre-cooked version of wheat berries (whole wheat kernels). It can be easier and faster to prepare at home because it is already partially cooked. Bulgur is commonly found in tabbouleh salad (make sure to purchase the instant/fine grain kind). Any kind of bulgur can be used as a replacement for other types of whole grains.
For more information on how our health coaches (all Registered Dietitians!) guide employees towards healthy, sustainable eating choices that fit their individual needs and goals, contact our team today!