wheat berries

Carbohydrates… the poor suckers have really taken a beating over the years (thanks Atkins… a lot). Fortunately for all parties involved, conscious eaters are coming around and acknowledging that carbohydrates play an integral role in a healthy diet. White, processed carbs: Not so much. Whole grains that are as close to their natural form as can be: Absolutely. Sure, you may be on the whole wheat pasta train, the brown rice train, maybe even the quinoa train. But here are four grains you may want to consider adding to your repertoire.

Bulgur wheat

Rich in fiber, “B” vitamins, iron, phosphorous and manganese, bulgur wheat maintains the bulk of its nutritive content owing to very little processing in order to make its way onto your plate. In fact, you couldn’t ask for an easier grain. All you do is pour water over it and let it soak up the liquid and you’re ready to go. And if you love tabouli – as we do! – start to explore with this grain in other places. 

Bulgur Risotto with Corn & Shrimp

Wheat Berries

Wheat berries are exactly what they sound like! They are whole wheat grains with the husks removed, the most unprocessed form of wheat. What does that mean? They provide the most nutritional benefit possible from this fibrous grain because the bran, the germ and the endosperm remain intact. And they are chewy and delicious, too. 

Wheat Berry Risotto Recipe

Red Wheat Berry Salad

Amaranth

Of the whole grains available today, amaranth is one of the highest in protein, fiber and iron. Plus, it’s gluten-free. Give amaranth a try next time you see it in a restaurant. Or better yet; buy a bag at the store and start cooking with it. You can use the flour in your baking or the whole grain in your savory dishes. Give this inventive recipe a try!

Vegan Amaranth & Almond ‘Cocktail Sausages’

Polenta

You no doubt have heard of polenta and even eaten it, possibly to your dismay. But give this grain another chance. Polenta is a gruel, essentially a delicious mush made by cooking cornmeal in salted water. Polenta is an excellent source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin B6. And when you cook it right – perhaps with a bit of ingenuity – it can shine bright! 

Mediterranean Chef Salad With Polenta Croutons

image: mar__