Go for the Grains

Grains have taken a beating lately. Shunned from high protein diets because of their carbohydrate content and maligned by many social media posts. But in most cultures, grains are an integral part of the diet. In the US, we eat way too many refined, nutrient poor grains because we eat too many packaged snacks, white bread and highly refined cereals. Most nutrition experts recommend replacing refined grains with whole grains, eating at least 3 whole grain servings each day.  But it’s important to expand beyond whole wheat bread. If you are unfamiliar with whole grains, you may not know how to incorporate them into your meals. Trader Joe’s 10 Minute barley and farro are two convenient, delicious, nutritious grains you can make any night of the week. These little grain packages cook in 10 minutes and can be enjoyed as a side dish (instead of white rice) with sautéed vegetables, added to salads or soups or even as a hot breakfast cereal.

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Nutrition Note:  Most nutrition experts recommend at least three, 1/2 cup or 1 ounce, servings of whole grains per day.  A serving of both farro and barley contains 7-10 grams of protein but barley has twice as much fiber at 10 grams per serving.  Whole grains are a source of resistant starch, both from the fiber itself and also from the cooking and cooling process.  Resistant starch is not digested in the small intestine so it becomes a prebiotic in the large intestine, feeding our friendly microbes which produce beneficial compounds that may reduce the risk for cancer.

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