Grains are delicious, plant-based foods rich in the fiber that is needed for gut health and to keep you fuller longer. They can help lower lipids and control blood sugars. Grains are also a good source of iron, protein, B-vitamins, and magnesium to energize your day.
Grains include: whole grain breads, oatmeal, brown rice, farro, wheat berries, quinoa, bulgur, and barley, to name a few. Opt for whole grains over refined white flour alternatives for the best nutrient intake.
On the side of a food label, check the daily value (%) of each nutrient. If the specific nutrient, like protein, or iron, is at least 10%, it is considered a “good source” according to the USDA; and, if the nutrient on the label is 20% or higher, the product is considered an “excellent source” of that nutrient.
Check out ways to build a better grain bowl!
- Pick a whole grain like quinoa or farro, cook it in water or low-sodium broth usually a 1:3 ratio of grains to water, at least 1 cup grain to 3 cups liquid (water or broth). Cook until al dente with a little chewy texture!
- Add a serving (typically ½ cup cooked) to the bottom of a bowl then top with roasted vegetables, nuts/seeds, dried fruit and a protein.
- Vegetables can include roasted tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, and asparagus, in olive oil and topped with favorite seasonings.
- Toast some nuts or seeds like almonds, pine nuts, or walnuts—used sliced or chopped.
- Add some dried fruit like cranberries, raisins or chopped apricots.
- Add a protein source like chick peas, grilled chicken or feta cheese.
- Toss together with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and squeeze of lemon to bring the flavors together!