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Thanks for stopping by! I'm young, I'm in love with my man, and I'm a mommy. We're busy, but happy. I'll share with you how to eat natural, healthy, whole foods while balancing family life! Learn to love your food, it will love you back!
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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Guest Post Series-Whole Grains

The Good Stuff: Whole Grains

A few years ago I saw this video on Youtube from Green Smoothie Girl (Robyn Oppenshaw) about white flour. She gets out this huge diagram of a wheat kernel for her kids and teaches them the basic parts; the endosperm, bran and germ.  The endosperm, the innermost part, is mostly starch, a little protein and oil. The bran is the next layer, adding flavor and texture.  The wheat germ is the outermost layer, which provides a concentrated source of nutrients; vitamins, minerals and fiber. 

Guess what white flour is made from?  You got it!!  The endosperm.  The part of the kernel that has the least amount of nutrition.  And do you know what happens when you add water to white flour?  Basically you make glue, yes GLUE people!  That is the visual Robyn gives her kids when teaching them about eating whole grains. I hope that (abstract) visual was as effective for you just now as it was for me years ago when I first saw it. I really didn’t need any more convincing after that, and you might not either.

If you’re not already eating whole grains, it’s a big step and it takes time to transition. Start small with things that are easy to switch out, like pasta, rice, bread, and whole-grain cereals. If you stress or feel uncomfortable about it, the change will not stick.  So, move gradually and do what feels comfortable for you and your family.

Pasta and Rice
Whole grain pasta and brown rice are pretty easy to find in most supermarkets.  Wild rice is another good alternative to white.

This is a hard one, especially if you only eat commercially prepared bread.  It’s really hard to purchase bread that doesn’t have unwanted additives, like sugar, preservatives and chemicals. Your best bet is to learn how to make your own bread, if you can, or buy from a local bakery where it is less likely to contain preservatives.

Breakfast Cereal
I’m sure this is a very hard one for many people to give up.  There are probably two that I would even consider buying once in a while.  Even “healthy” options out there are not all whole-grain, still processed, have too much sugar and are only fortified with vitamins and minerals, rather than them being naturally occurring. 

To tackle replacing breakfast cereals, try making your own granola.  Granola is very versatile in that you can switch up many of the ingredients often and not get tired of the same thing over and over.  Pancakes are something else we eat a lot of around here.  Make your whole grain pancake mix and keep it handy for those rushed mornings.  We love adding chopped or pureed fruit to the batter.  My kids also love to eat hot cereals (steel cut oats, rolled oats, cream of wheat, etc.), and actually request that the most for breakfast. You can add fruit to that as well after it’s cooked, or even some ground flaxseed or coconut oil, the options are many!

Other Grains
Believe it or not, there are other grains out there besides wheat, corn and rice.  Quinoa has become pretty popular and is available in most stores.  I love it because whenever I forget to give myself enough time to make brown rice, I can just cook up quinoa instead and it’s done in under 20 minutes! I prefer to cook it with some low-sodium chicken/veggie stock because it doesn’t have much flavor by itself; it takes on the flavor of whatever it’s cooked/paired with.  

If you have a grocery store close by that carries bulk items, wander through and see what different grains they have to offer, then pick up something new and give it a try!

For next time....What about protein?

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