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Healthy Tip: Get Cooking With Whole Grains

By Alana Sugar, January 3, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar
You know how when you’re a child and you get a notion in your head that something is a certain way…and it’s just that way…and that’s just the way it is?  Well, that describes me and what I thought of bread.  You see, from the time I could remember, my Mom always had bread for us.  But it was very, very small. She called it rye bread.  It was her favorite!  It came in a very long but very slender package.  I loved it too and I ate it often.  It was my tiny toast, my tiny sandwich and my tiny snack. I had no idea what a “normal” slice of bread looked like until I discovered a piece at my Grandmother’s house.  You can imagine my shock to learn there was more than one kind of bread and not all of it was tiny or rye! As I grew up I realized this tiny bread was a huge part of my life, setting the stage for my love of rye and my desire to learn more about it and other whole grains, and to eventually bake my own bread. Whole grains are super nutritious! Whole grains are the seeds or kernels of a growing plant, and they come in different shapes and sizes, from tiny seeds to larger kernels.  They contain three key parts: the bran which is the tough, fibrous outer skin; the germ which is the embryo or the part that becomes a new plant; and the endosperm which is the starchier part that provides nourishment for the young plant. The bran provides fiber and valuable antioxidants.   Eating whole grains provides us with wonderful health benefits.  According to the USDA, people who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.  That’s because they provide nutrients that are vital for the maintenance of a healthy body. Over the next month, I’ll be talking about many of my favorite whole grains and how you might add them to your own menu plan with some delicious, fun ways to prepare and enjoy them.  In the meantime, here’s a quick look at my top picks: Oats – Oh!  So delicious at breakfast and beyond, adding oats to your diet is a super plus!  Now that the weather is colder, you’ll love these hot Oatmeal Apple Pancakes. Barley — Beautiful addition to salads, soups, stews and chili.  Cook it up and keep it on hand to add to many favorite dishes.  Here’s a good basic recipe for Simple Barley. Spelt – Super good and very ancient!  Spelt can be used just like its modern cousin wheat.  We’ve used only spelt flour in these delicious Blueberry Spelt Muffins. Rye – Really hearty and filling, rye bread is my all-time favorite!  These Mini Brie and Arugula Sandwiches with Apple Mustard are outstanding on hearth rye bread. Quinoa – Quite a remarkable grain, quinoa has the highest protein content of any other grain!  It’s a wonderful addition to soups, stews, casseroles, salads, and even breakfast.  Try these delicious Quinoa Garden Cakes with Lemony Yogurt. Brown Rice — Among the best known of the whole grain family, brown rice comes in many varieties and can replace white rice in just about every dish from stuffing to sushi.   But, if it’s new to you, a great place to start is with this recipe for Brown Rice Pilaf with Mushrooms and Apricots. Ready to go with whole grains?  Great!  Check out our Guide to Whole Grains and Flour and our super Guide to Grains. Got a favorite whole grain you can’t go without?  Let me know what it is and your favorite way to enjoy it!
Category: Healthy Eating




SusieBeeOnMaui says ...
Looking forward to reading more this month. I have a few favorites using whole grains. quinoa: http://eatlittleeatbig.blogspot.com/2010/09/punched-up-whole-grain-quinoa-salad.html whole wheat: pizza dough- http://eatlittleeatbig.blogspot.com/2010/08/homemade-whole-wheat-pizza.html bread- http://eatlittleeatbig.blogspot.com/2010/09/whole-wheat-oatmeal-bread.html pancakes- http://eatlittleeatbig.blogspot.com/2010/10/chocolate-hazelnut-whole-wheat-pancakes.html Oatmeal: http://eatlittleeatbig.blogspot.com/2010/10/recipe-for-overnight-oatmeal-three-days.html Would love to see some recipe using barley. I guess you could use it like quinoa?
01/03/2011 12:19:39 PM CST
Helen Hayes says ...
My personal and family favorite is blue corn meal. Iuse Arrowhead Mills organic and it's wonderful. I make cornbread, coat fish, chicken, I add it to meatloaf instead of bread crumbs, and I have even made tortillas and chips and silly enough, at halloween I made grits and my 2 and 3 yr olds LOVED the purple breakfast! I has more protien than regular yellow corn meal, I think a better texture (better "bite to it"), and its my way to get even healthier things into my kids' bodies that they think is so cool. I remember what I have learned in culinary school that you eat with your eyes first. If a kid sees something that looks yummy or cool, and it smells good, they'll try it.
01/03/2011 12:52:01 PM CST
Jennifer is Always Sick says ...
I love to mix things up and use the quinoa pastas in our spaghetti. I'm making my own sourdough right now. I have a sourdough starter sitting on my counter right now - whole grain rye flour and water. When the starter is complete, I'm adding some of that yummy spelt to the mix to make my very first homemade sourdough. I hope beyond hope that it turns out ok. I love sourdough, and I want some REAL bread!
01/03/2011 11:06:20 PM CST
Edith Helmich says ...
For the sake of celiacs, you might have also included buckwheat, corn meal, wild rice, millet ... Getting adequate whole grains is a constant challenge, and adding them to our diet is dependent on having the information and recipes to create tasty food from these alternate grains.
01/05/2011 5:12:41 PM CST
Teresa Daniels says ...
It's hard to choose a favorite; my sons and I all love rolled oats, spelt, or barley cooked with soymilk and raisins or currents. I also really like barley and mushroom pilaf. More good, reliable recipes would be very helpful.
01/05/2011 5:38:45 PM CST
Neal Miller says ...
We started the www.17daydiet.com on January 3rd and have already lost two lbs. It isn't easy, but you do get to eat a fair amount of good food that you can make at home. No expensive deliveries... so to get started, order the book and workout Cd, then run over to Whole Foods for the freshest produce, vegetables, fish and poultry to stock your fridge. Good Luck and HAPPY 2011!
01/05/2011 5:45:51 PM CST
Sandra says ...
I've been trying to incorporate more whole grains into my diet. Thank you Whole Foods for having these Grain guides! I am especially thankful for the Grain chart--how convenient! I can't wait to try out that wheat berry salad pictured here...looks tasty.
01/05/2011 6:32:54 PM CST
Dennis G Wright says ...
I was watching the Martha steward cooking school last saturday and it had some great recipes that I wanted. They were for ferro, quinoa, bulgar, polenta, and I think two other known for centuries all over the world. They really looked good and easy to make. Since I am housebound with complications of kidney cancer (which I will beat it) , I thought I would get the recipes. Well only if I bought her cook book. Can you help me with one or two salads dinner ideas using these and other grains? They really look excellent to fix and eat. Also my grand daughter is vegetarian and she would love these grains. Thank you for your time
07/01/2013 2:49:03 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@DENNIS - You can see some great recipes for dinner salads with grains on our website at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/search/%20?f%5B0%5D=field_recipe_course%3A793&f%5B1%5D=field_recipe_main_ingredient%253Aname%3AGrains.
07/01/2013 4:00:04 PM CDT