Posts Tagged ‘whole grains’
July 15, 2014 by Johanna Burani
We’re all trying (aren’t we?) to eat more whole grains. The USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage us to hop on the whole grain bandwagon. Recipes online, in magazines and cookbooks, and on cooking shows with famous chefs abound with whole grain options. Even our bodies give us the thumbs up when we eat whole grains.
But stop a minute and ask yourself if you really are eating grains that are truly whole. First off, the grain must contain all three of its structural parts: the bran (outer) layer, the endosperm (starchy) layer and the germ (seed). It also should be minimally processed to minimize natural nutrient losses and disruption of the synergy within the layers.
A whole grain will look on your plate pretty much as it does in nature – minus the field debris and inedible outermost shell (the husk or hull). Take oats for instance. The steel cut version is the entire grain with just the husk removed. That same whole grain with the husk intact is called “groats” and that’s what horses eat!
Here are some examples of whole grains: pearl barley, steel cut or traditional rolled oats, corn, whole grain brown rice and wild rice (not really a grain), wheat berries, cracked wheat and bulgur, quinoa, buckwheat, rye and triticale.
You can find out the history, processing methods and interesting facts about these and other whole grains at www.wholegrainscouncil.org.
And, since these grains show up favorably on the lower end of the glycemic index, you can also learn more about them at www.glycemicindex.com.
January 14, 2013 by Johanna Burani
Let’s face it, our mothers and grandmothers had an easier time food shopping than we do today. They mostly cooked from scratch. Their ingredients were simple: flour, sugar, butter, potatoes, milk, broccoli, spinach, apples, a chicken or pork roast. They knew if their foods were fresh or not by “reading” their appearances rather than the labels they were wrapped in. They didn’t have to deal with “organic,” “gluten free,” “whole grain,” “low fat,” and so on. How times have changed!
Of course, we, too, can choose to cook our meals from scratch and many are doing just that. But this is not an option for everyone. So we must become savvy shoppers, knowing how to separate the marketing jargon from the true nutritional facts found on packaged foods. This applies to concerns about calories, fat, fiber, salt, preservatives and, yes, good carbs.
What are you looking for when shopping for good carbs? Here are the most essential properties:
- short list of ingredients – usually a good sign of minimal processing (e.g. Quaker’s old fashioned oats has one ingredient: 100% rolled oats)
- natural ingredients – you should be able to pronounce and spell these! (e.g. Breyer’s vanilla ice cream contains milk, cream, sugar, tara gum, natural flavor)
- first ingredient is a whole and intact grain (e.g. brown rice, bulgur, lentils)
- the food resembles its original form (corn on the cob vs. popcorn or corn flakes)
Here is a partial list of good carbs to get you started:
- all-bran cereals and large, thick oat flakes requiring 5+ minutes cooking time
- all rye/pumpernickel-based breads and crackers
- all pasta: cooked al dente (not overcooked or precooked)brown, long grain and wild rice
- all whole grains: barley, buckwheat, bulgur, corn
- all legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas, black-eyed peasall fresh vegetables, except parsnips, white potatoes, pumpkin, rutabaga
- all fresh fruits, except watermelon, very ripe pineapple, very ripe, large bananas
- all canned fruit in its own juice, except pineapple and lychees
- all dairy foods: milk, yogurt, ice cream, cooked puddings, custards and mousses
- all nuts and chocolate (especially dark)