September is Whole Grain Month and a good time to reclaim traditions from the past. Ancient grains, also known as heritage grains, provide an abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber — all essential to good health.
Traditionally, all grains eaten were whole grains. Studies show that including whole grains in your diet can significantly lower your risk for chronic diseases such as stroke, diabetes, heart disease, inflammatory disease, high blood pressure and some cancers. If you’ve already been diagnosed with one of these conditions whole grains can make it easier to manage the disease.
According to the Boston-based, Whole Grain Council, whole grain consumption jumped 23% from 2008 to 2010, as more people discovered the many delicious whole grain options available in restaurants and on grocery shelves. Yet most people are still far short of recommendations, and would benefit from switching more of the grains they eat to whole grains.
In a webinar “Teach an Old Grain New Tricks,” sponsored by Udi’s Gluten Free, registered dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN, cleared up the confusion and myths surrounding ancient grains and provided tips on incorporating them into your diet.
Contrary to popular belief, Bonnie said most ancient grains are gluten free, versatile and flavorful, and because of their high fiber content, they can help you loose weight too. That’s because the fiber in them provides a feeling of fulness, resulting in fewer calories eaten at a meal.
The following are a few of the ancient grains Bonnie discussed:
- Amaranth is more like a seed than a true grain. It is popular in Africa and South America. Amaranth is naturally gluten-free, and contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and iron. You can use amaranth as breakfast porridge, ground into flour for breads or muffins, and the seeds can be popped like popcorn.
- Quinoa is one of the most popular ancient grains in the United States. It is considered a complete protein because it contains all nine of the essential amino acids our bodies need. Quinoa is also rich in iron an phosphorus. Quinoa is a South American grain that cooks much like rice but faster. It’s great for soups, salads, casseroles, and in any dish that calls for rice.
- Millet a staple of Asia and Africa. Millet, also gluten free is a heart healthy grain. It provides copper, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium. Use millet for the texture of fried food without the frying. Breading with millet will give your chicken a crisp and crunchy coating.
- Sorghum is a popular gluten free whole grain that can be substituted for wheat flour in baked goods such as muffins, breads, pizza dough and cakes. It can also be eaten as a cooked cereal.
Along with chia and flax seeds,Udi’s combines these and other ancient grains to make a variety of recipes and products that have all been tested for deliciousness…just happen to be gluten free…and are packed with wholesome goodness.
Here are just a few of their wonderful recipes you’ll want to try. Your tastebuds will be glad you did!
- Cranberry and sage dressing stuffed chicken breasts
- Easy gluten free apple berry cobbler
- Chocolate chip oat breakfast cookies
- Baked ancient grain zucchini fries
This post was written while participating in my partnership with Udi’s Gluten Free. However, all opinions are my own.