Tip of the Week
Whole grains are good for us, offering fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. But can they really be tasty enough for our kids to enjoy? And how do we add them to more of our meals?
Consider whole grains your blank canvas, says Susan Moores, a Twin Cities, Minn.-based dietitian. “They’re a great starting point for creating delicious meals that are incredibly beneficial to your and your kids’ health.”
According to Moores, whole grains are the type of carbohydrates your body wants.
“Whole-grain carbohydrates are an excellent source of energy for the brain,” she said. That’s important for kids at school. Plus, studies show whole grains contain their own unique set of phytonutrients, which can rival the phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables. Phytonutrients are substances found in plant foods that research strongly suggest promote good health, such as resveratrol in grapes and lycopene in tomatoes.
To add whole grains to your home menus, Moores suggests teamwork. “Kids are naturally curious about food, they’re interested in being in the kitchen and in learning how to cook. Leverage that and the fun when everyone is trying a food for the first time.”
To amp up the flavor of grains, cook them in broth or juice, and make a pilaf with chopped onions, adding chopped vegetables, corn or even dried fruit. Finish with seasoning. Whole grains work as a side dish, in a casserole, in soups or as part of a salad.
“Whole grains taste best with the company they keep. Partner them with favorite foods and ingredients to make them a sure win on two fronts: taste and health.”
Number to Know
51 percent: Schools across the country are introducing whole grain breads, pastas, rice, pizzas and tortillas because starting July 1, 2014, all of the grain-based offerings in the school lunch line will be at least 51 percent whole grain.
Brown rice pilaf
Yield: 10 portions
1 1/2 cups long-grain converted brown rice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, minced
3 cups liquid - vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
1 bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat the oil in heavy-gauge medium pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and translucent, 5-6 minutes. Add the rice and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until aromatic and heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock, bay leaf and thyme sprig to the rice and bring to a simmer, stirring to prevent the rice from clumping together or sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cover the pot and cook in 350 degree oven until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid, about 30 minutes. Remove the rice from the oven, and allow it to rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover, and use a fork to fluff the rice, remove the bay leaf and thyme sprig, and set aside in a warm spot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on a warm plate.
• Several different dried fruits, nuts and herbs can be added to grains, such as dried cherries, dried apricots, slivered almonds, chopped pistachios, fresh basil, etc.
• 2 ounces of chopped, toasted walnuts can also be gently folded in with ½ ounce each of chopped parsley, chives and thyme.
- The Culinary Institute of America
How much of your bread a cereal serving be from whole grains?
D. 3 to 5
Answer at bottom of rail.
Wise to the Word
Bulgur: When wheat kernels are boiled, dried, cracked, then sorted by size, the result is bulgur. This wheat product is sometimes referred to as Middle Eastern pasta for its versatility as a base for all sorts of dishes.
- Whole Grains Council
The Dish On...
"Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs and Sugar," by David Perlmutter and Kristin Loberg
Renowned neurologist David Perlmutter, blows the lid off a topic that’s been buried in medical literature for far too long: carbs are destroying your brain. And not just unhealthy carbs, but even healthy ones like whole grains can cause dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches, depression and much more.
Food Quiz answer
D. Dietary guidelines recommend that all adults eat at least half their grains as whole grains – that’s at least 3 to 5 servings of whole grains. Children need 2 to 3 servings or more.
- Whole Grains Council
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Food for Thought: Is it really possible for kids to like whole grains?
Tip of the Week