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Healthy Grains to Eat Right Now

  • Healthy grains

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    The Whole Truth

    If you've been shunning carbs, you may want to reconsider: Whole grains are carbohydrates that can benefit your health. They contain all three parts of the grain kernel, offering loads of fiber per bite. This helps keep you fuller for longer—plus fiber is great for tackling bad cholesterol. Refined grains, on the other hand, typically have the germ and bran removed, leaving only the endosperm intact. I asked my dietitian colleagues for their favorite grain recipes. May their meal ideas (and mine) inspire a grain streak this week.

    Amy Gorin, M.S., R.D.N., is a registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, NJ. She is a nutrition consultant, motivational speaker, and journalist.

  • Fried rice

    Amy Gorin

    Brown Rice

    Switching out white rice for brown rice may significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes, shows a Harvard study. Subjects who typically ate 4 ounces of white rice at least five times weekly noticed a 16 percent decrease in risk of type 2 diabetes when they replaced a third of that intake with brown rice.

    Try it: My Vegetable "Fried" Rice with Almond-Teriyaki Sauce

  • Freekeh Chicken and Cabbage Soup

    Emily Kyle Nutrition

    Freekeh

    With a chewy texture, this ancient grain contributes up to 13 percent of your daily fiber needs per 1/3 cup cooked. Freekeh contains many minerals, including immunity-helping zinc and blood-sugar-controlling manganese.

    Try it: Freekeh Chicken & Cabbage Soup from Emily Cope-Kyle, M.S., R.D.N., owner of Emily Kyle Nutrition

  • Coconut Amaranth Granola

    AbbeyLangerNutrition.com

    Amaranth

    Offering up about 6 percent of an adult's daily need for bone-building calcium per 1/2 cup cooked, this ancient grain is often used in soups and porridges—but is great in granola mixes, too. It's rich in the essential amino acid lysine, lending its use in building and repairing tissues in the body.

    Try it: Coconut Amaranth Granola with Dried Cherries from Abby Langer, R.D., blogger at AbbyLangerNutrition.com

  • Baked Oatmeal Casserole

    Angie Asche

    Cooked Oatmeal

    Traditionally featured in breakfast bowls, oatmeal is also great as an ingredient in casseroles, muffins, and pancakes. Regular oatmeal intake can help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels, per research in British Journal of Nutrition.

    Try it: Baked Oatmeal Casserole from Angie Asche, M.S., R.D., owner of Eleat Sports Nutrition; Gluten-Free Pumpkin Protein Pancakes from Abbey Sharp, R.D., owner of Abbey's Kitchen

  • Millet Cereal Bars

    Caitlin Russell

    Millet

    Millet is an ancient grain that comes in white, yellow, red, and gray varieties. It's packed with 3 grams of protein per 1/2 cup cooked and can be popped into "popcorn" or mixed into cereal bars. It contains magnesium, important for building bones, as well as manganese.

    Try it: Cereal Bars from Caitlin Russell, M.S., R.D.N., a wellness dietitian and food sensitivity specialist; Coconut Millet Breakfast Porridge from Jodi Danen, R.D., blogger at TheAverageRD.com

  • Cranberry Ginger Sorghum

    Jessica Fishman Levinson

    Sorghum

    A good source of disease-fighting phytochemicals, sorghum may help cardiovascular health and lower risk of certain cancers, per research out of Texas A&M University. It also provides a good dose of fiber and iron. The grain can be used in place of rice in a risotto and also has a great texture for grain-based salads and sides.

    Try it: Cranberry Ginger Sorghum from Jessica Fishman Levinson, M.S., R.D.N., founder of Nutritioulicious

  • Wheat Berries with Zucchini and Peas

    Janice Newell Bissex

    Wheat Berries

    This grain has a chewy bite and works well in salads. In addition to 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup cooked, wheat berries contain iron, important for transporting oxygen throughout the body.

    Try it: Wheat Berries with Zucchini and Peas from Janice Newell Bissex, M.S., R.D.N., co-owner of Meal Makeover Moms' Kitchen and coauthor of The Smoothie Bowl Coloring Cookbook