Whole Grain Salads Hi Res

Four Whole Grains to Boost Your Health

Replacing white bread with whole wheat is a great way to fit whole grains into your diet, but isn’t it just a little ho-hum? Here are a few great reasons to incorporate four more fabulous whole grains into your diet. 

Did you know Whole Grains have the power to:

  • help improve gut health,
  • control blood sugar,
  • lower cholesterol,
  • lower the risk of some cancers and heart disease,
  • and help with overall weight loss?

You may have noticed an increase in whole grain popularity in recent years (hello, even Chipotle is now serving quinoa!) as many individuals continue to take health into their own hands. Most have already replaced white bread with healthier whole grain alternatives, but now we’re seeking more creative ways to incorporate whole grains into our daily meals – after all, variety is the spice of life.

If you’re looking to add more whole grains into your routine, here are four fabulous whole grains that can be incorporated into your daily meals.

Four Whole Grains

1. Amaranth

Similar to quinoa, this earthy flavored imposter is actually a seed and not a grain making it naturally gluten free. Why do we love amaranth? It’s a complete protein. Because it contains lysine, an amino acid missing in many grains, amaranth is a great choice for those who are gluten intolerant, and is a sound protein option for vegans and vegetarians. Prepare it with low fat milk or milk alternatives such as almond milk, for a nutritious breakfast and add flavor with creative fruit and spice combinations like bananas and cinnamon or blueberries and vanilla. 

2. Black Barley

We love this glossy grain.  It’s not only a good-looking side dish, but it’s also wonderfully versatile. Its slightly chewy texture gives soups and salads substance and its higher protein and fiber content makes it a great ‘real food’ addition in shakes. Yep, you heard that right – in shakes! Just cook the grain and blend with your regular smoothie ingredients.

Whole Grain Sampling

3. Farro

You’ve seen it on the shelves for a while now, but have you taste tested this nutty grain? At home in Tuscany, it’s a popular staple on the Italian dinner table. Farro is an ancient wheat grain that is a great source of protein, iron, zinc and magnesium. I highly recommend you try making farro soup just once. Here’s a classic recipe by Mark Bittman.

4. Wild Rice

This gluten free grain of the aquatic plant Zizania Palustris, isn’t actually rice, but a seed grown predominately in lakes and riverbeds. The earthy, nutty flavor makes it great as a side dish, in a salad, or as part of a main course, such as stuffed peppers with mushrooms and goat cheese.  Let’s not forget that it has double the potassium content (great for overall cardiovascular health) of regular rice, and less carbohydrates, too!

Stay tuned for whole grain recipes from the FLIK team, featuring some of these Fabulous Four grains. For more information about this article or others, please email us at FLIKblog@compass-usa.com.

Written by Zoe Wilson, FLIK Hospitality Group dietetic intern, and reviewed by the FLIK Hospitality Group registered dietitians.