Great Scott…grains are great for the body! It doesn’t matter whether you want to look slimmer or take control of your overall health, grains should be at the top of your grocery shopping list. But, if you’re not used to eating whole grains, it can be hard to know what’s what. Check out this list of great grains for your health.
First, it helps to understand why whole grains are a better choice than the refined grains found in many boxed or packaged foods. Refined grains have been processed to produce a finer texture and boost shelf life. The problem with this is that the processing also strips the grains of the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. Refined grains are extremely common on grocery store shelves—you’ll find them in everything from white bread and pastries to breakfast cereals and crackers. Other common products include white rice and desserts.
It’s true that some refined grains have been enriched; the manufacturers have added in nutrients, like vitamins, that were stripped during processing. While vitamins have been re-added, fiber is typically not. That means you’re missing out on all the benefits of the fiber in healthy grains, including its ability to prevent constipation. Check out Reasons You Need More Fiber in Your Diet.
Whole grains food products are best for the body because the grains are in their most natural, nutritious form. That means they retain their nutrients, including the fiber your body needs. Start adding these grains to your weight loss or clean-eating menu plans.
Great Grains for Your Health:
Brown Rice– White rice loses a hefty portion of its nutrients in the refining process. In contrast, brown rice is packed with B vitamins, antioxidants, and filling fiber. Try it in this Black Bean and Brown Rice Salad.
Buckwheat– This whole grain can be part of a gluten-free diet. Often used in pancakes, it’s a powerhouse of magnesium, which may lower blood pressure and help regulate insulin levels.
Couscous– This Mediterranean staple is light and fluffy, and it tastes great when steamed and served with a bed of vegetables or in a stew. Try topping your next batch of couscous with our savory Beef Curry.
Millet– This grain is not just for the birds. Millet offers plenty of nutrients the body needs to tackle a full day, including magnesium and vitamin B3 (niacin). These healthy grains are gluten free and easy to digest. Millet makes a yummy cereal and can be an alternative to pilaf in Middle Eastern dishes.
Quinoa– We love quinoa—and you will, too! It delivers complete protein, plus iron, heart-healthy omega-3 acids, and a heaping helping of fiber. Learn how to make it in 6 Steps to Perfect Quinoa, and then check out Quinoa Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms.
Do you love quinoa as much as we do? Be sure to check out our Quinoa Recipe eBook!
Wild Rice– A type of edible grass, wild rice is high in B vitamins and dietary fiber. It’s versatile and makes a nutritious side dish for your favorite healthy entrées. You can also enjoy it in Skinny Slow Cooker Chicken & Rice.
Whole Oats– Oatmeal is an easy way to add whole grains foods to your diet. It’s an especially smart part of a heart-healthy lifestyle because it contains an antioxidant, avenanthramide, which protects the heart. Get your day off to a yummy start with Skinny Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal.
Whole Wheat– It’s simple to add these healthy grains to your diet with whole-grain breads and pastas. Be sure to choose “100% whole grain” when shopping for whole-wheat products. Foods labeled “wheat” or “multi-grain” might still be refined. Check out how delish whole-wheat pasta can be in Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Toss.
Do you have a favorite Skinny Ms. recipe? We’d love to hear about it. Tell us what you think in the comments section below.