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Posted on August 31, 2018
Healthy grains are an integral part of a balanced plant-based diet. They’re packed with fiber, add protein to a meal (more on that in the next blog post) and keep you full for hours. They’re also an underrated part of a healthy diet with most North American’s not meeting the recommended daily intake for fiber of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Fiber has a variety of health benefits, including promoting gut health, lowering cholesterol and helping control blood sugar. It can also aid in achieving a healthy weight.
If you’re looking to branch out from brown rice and quinoa, we’ve got some fun and delicious grains to add to your diet. Eating nutritiously doesn’t have to mean eating plain brown rice and veggies at every meal. In fact, there are a variety of tasty whole grains with different flavors and textures to complement any recipe. From the exotic sounding amaranth to the classic barley you remember from soups and stews, we’ve got you covered with the best grain to add to any recipe.
Amaranth is an ancient seed that was favored by the Aztecs – and for good reason. It’s packed with fiber, contains a complete amino acid profile (including lysine!) and is high in important nutrients like iron and manganese. It’s also naturally gluten-free and can be incorporated easily into many meals. In short, it’s a nutrition superstar and makes a great addition to a plant-based diet. You can use it in the morning as a creamy breakfast cereal, pop it and use it as a salad topper, or cook it and combine it with another healthy grain for an unbeatable boost of nutrition and subtle nutty flavor.
Barley may sound like an uninspiring, traditional grain, but it’s actually a delicious substitute in many recipes and adds a creamy, chewy texture to a dish. It’s high in insoluble fiber, manganese and selenium, and barley also has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar. You can use it in place of arborio rice for a tasty risotto with a lovely texture. It also makes a great side dish as a barley pilaf, or you can toss it in a salad to bulk it up and make it more filling, complete meal. It’s even great in it the old favorite: barley soup. You can jazz it up by adding new spices and filling it with delicious veggies.
Despite the fact that its name contains the word “wheat,” buckwheat is gluten-free. You many already be familiar with buckwheat flour, but it’s a nutritious and delicious grain in its own unprocessed form. It’s a tasty, nutritious addition to many meals, and like most whole grains, buckwheat contains plenty of fiber and is rich in minerals like folic acid, copper and zinc. It adds a delicious crunch to a breakfast cereal mix and makes a great addition to a salad with its crunchy, nutty flavor. It’s also great mixed into a homemade granola, and you can even use buckwheat as a rice replacement in curries or a stir-fry! Basically, there’s nothing this little powerhouse grain can’t do.
With these three superfood grains in your arsenal, you’ll never get bored! The recipes and combinations are endless. If you’re looking for other ways to supercharge your plant-based diet, check out our blog posts on Plant-based Sources of Omega Fatty Acids and Iron on a Plant-based Diet.
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