Many grains are making their way back into the market and not all of them are equal, but all are superior. Grains can provide many vitamins, minerals and added protein in their natural forms. A selected few are even gluten free. You can find these grains in Mrs. Greens, Whole Foods, Trader Joes and some of the mainstream supermarkets in the organic sections. Here’s the break down some, but not all of the ancient grains that are worth trying.
Bulgur– made from hard red wheat and sometimes white wheat. It can be added to soups, stews or use as an alternative for rice. It is quick and easy to cook and cool and can blended with nuts, cranberries, chopped veggies, and spices. Try making the Middle Eastern dish, Tabbouleh and add piece of grilled chicken to complete the meal. It is loaded with 18 grams of fiber per-serving, 14% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of manganese, and 14% of the RDA of iron. If you’re looking for vitamin B6, bulgur contains 17% of the RDA.
Amaranth– this is one of the worlds oldest and smallest grains boasting 9 grams of protein per cup as well as being gluten free and wheat free. It contains amino acids that help build brain cells like lysine, cysteine and methionine. Looking to increase iron, this grain has 42 percent of your daily needs. It has a nutty flavor and mixes well with nuts, dried fruits and milk making it a great breakfast choice. Cook it in a broth and add vegetables and use it as a side for dinner.
Farro – originally from Egypt, this grain was used for bread making. Farro is commonly used for salads, soups and pasta along with breads. It is high in niacin, zinc and has 6grams of protein per serving. Farro is similar to Wheat berries, which have a little crunch to them when you bite into it. Both make excellent side dishes, or salads. Wheat Berries can be a great alternative to oatmeal with added fruit and nuts.
Millet– is a small grain, a staple grain in many countries, such as Asia. Millet has been associated with protection against cardiovascular disease and has been shown to decrease stomach ulcers. Millet is another gluten free grain with 6 grams per serving of protein. Millet can be mixed with seasoned vegetables, meats, spicy beans and other foods.
Quinoa- means mother grain in Inca and is found in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia. It is a complete protein meaning it has all the essential amino acids. These amino acids help muscles, immunity and regulate your hormones. Quinoa has been gaining popularity in the last decade due to the increase of gluten sensitivities and celiac disease. This grain like some of the other grains boast 20grams of the RDA of iron, it’s a great source of high quality protein with 8 grams a serving. Quinoa is high in fiber, riboflavin and thiamin and niacin, which aids metabolism. You can serve this grain as a salad, serve it hot like you would rice or mix it with vegetables.
Teff – is the smallest of grains yet is extremely versatile. It can be blended into soups and stews but it also used as a thickening agent in cooking. Uncooked teff can be used in baking cakes, breads, and muffins instead of using seeds. Teff is not only gluten free but nutrient dense because its made from the bran and germ. It is high in fiber, calcium, thiamin and iron and per serving has 26grams of protein.
Just a note, if you are celiac or gluten sensitive, grains naturally gluten free may be processed in a plant where other gluten containing grains are processed. Please check the labels to see if it is specified.
Go into recipes and try the tabouleh salad. Let me know how you like you.