Cooking with Whole Grains
Most of us do not know much about cooking with whole grains, and different ways of including them in our diets, although we are aware of their amazing health benefits.
• Wheat, rice, corn and barley are the four most commonly cultivated grains in the world.
• Brown rice -in short, medium and long-grain and brown basmati rice varieties- is not the only type of whole grain available. You also haveamaranth, quinoa, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, corn grits, kamut, millet, oats, quinoa, spelt and farro.
• Whole grains are very nutritious, lower in glycemic index and high in dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and protein as one of nature’s most important super foods. They are not stripped of their germ and bran like white rice, couscous or white pasta.
• FDA of United Stated recommends three to five servings of whole grains a day to reap the great health benefits they offer.
• White flour is usually believed to be a contributing factor in the increase of serious illnesses. Including whole grains in your diet will help youdecrease the risks of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and more.
• Increased energy, building lean muscles and lowered cholesterol are among the many reported benefits of a diet rich in whole grains.
• Dietary fiber in whole grains is the main reason for including them in your diet. Fiber is lower in energy, contains no calories, fills you up so you don’t eat as much, feel satisfied longer and it helps foods move quickly through your digestive system.
Tips for Cooking with Whole Grains:
• When cooking whole grains, you should first rinse them thoroughly to remove dirt and bitter tasting natural coating, especially if you are buying from bulk bins at the shops.
• You need to be patient when cooking with whole grains as some whole grains can take up to two to three times longer than white rice.
• Chew whole grains thoroughly for proper digestion and not to complain about bloating and gas later on.
• Store whole grains at room temperature if you will use them within a few weeks; otherwise keep them in containers or seal them and refrigerate or freeze.
• Longer cooking times make it harder for whole grains to be included in your diet, so make a lot when cooking the grains, and store them in your fridge up to five days and much longer in your freezer.
• The easiest way to incorporate whole grains into your diet is to add them into your soups as you won’t need to cook them separately. It will be OK to simply throw them in. The whole grain will continue to swell and will be bulkier when you are having it the next day. Use the grains exactly the same way in chilies and stews.
• Leftover whole grains can last about three to four days if stored in your fridge. Try and use them in your stews, soups- chicken barley soup and salads- quinoa salad.
• Boil, cool down and mix a variety of grains and serve as breakfast cereal with milk, dried fruits and nuts, if you want a low glycemic index breakfast with longer lasting energy.
• Simply use whole wheat flour along with white flour- 50/50, not to destroy the taste- in baked muffins, cookies and cakes. Try oatmeal cookies and whole grain cinnamon rolls or brown rice pudding if you wish to increase your intake of whole grains.
• Try brown rice salad with red peppers- capsicums, chopped red onions, olives, grated carrots, soy beans, chick peas, corn, fresh herbs, olive oil, lemon juice or an alternative salad dressing and serve warm or cold. Orfarro with chopped tomatoes, beans, corn, yellow squash with a nice salad dressing.
• Use whole grain pastas just like you use normal semolina or durum wheat pastas, with the same pasta sauces. You will find them easily in supermarkets with great choices now and they taste so much better than before.