Although many people stay clear of whole grains, they would do well if they gave them a second look. The average being consumes refined grain products like white rice and white flour, and avoids eating whole grains like plague. On the other hand, low-carb dieters dump whole grains in favor of foods rich in protein like poultry and meat under false assumption that whole grains are bad for the dieter---in fact the opposite is true; whole grains help stabilize blood sugar levels—something crucial for any successful weight loss endeavor. And other people avoid whole grains simply because they have no idea of what to do with them or let alone prepare them.
There is a plethora of highly nutritious whole wheat delicacies to choose, and adding whole grains to your diet shouldn’t be daunting.
Here are some grain options that you probably never heard of or tried before that you should start adding to your diet.
FARRO: A prehistoric type of hard wheat that has a roasted, nutty flavor and a chewy texture. It is widely popular in Mediterranean and Italian cooking, and is available whole, semi-pearled or pearled. You need to soak raw farro overnight before cooking, while semi-pearled and pearled farro can cook fast without soaking. Farro can be used to make delightful pasta-like salads, add-ins to stews and soups, and is also a great substitute for rice when cooking risotto.
AMARANTH: A mildly nutty, but very nutritious grain with origins from Peruvian and Mexican cultures. These small, pale seeds are gluten-free, and serve as rich sources of protein, fiber, iron and calcium, making amaranth ideally suited for vegetarian cooking and an excellent choice for those suffering from celiac ailment. Amaranth absorbs flavors from added ingredients, and defers them into varied cooking applications, like roasting, boiling and popping. It can also be ground into flour and used in different baked products, makes delicious hot breakfast or popped and flavored like popcorn.
Similar to amaranth, QUINOA is another exceptionally nutrient rich, gluten-free and easy to absorb flavors whole grain product. In fact, quinoa contains the highest amount of protein and potassium content of any grain. It is considered a complete protein which provides essential amino acids required by the body. Red and black quinoa are crunchier, while the white variety has a fluffy texture that pops in the mouth. It normally takes 10-15 minutes to cook, and it tastes very delicious, perhaps with a sprinkle of Parmesan, a dash of olive oil or a squeeze of lemon. It is increasingly becoming a popular substitute for rice and starchy pasta.
BULGAR: Popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. It cooks quickly and has a nutty flavor. It has a chewy taste and makes a great binder when making meatloaf or meatballs.