The DeLish Bite

Lindsay Evans blogs about food, entertaining and her favourite recipes for Green Living.

Whole grains – once banished for being too carbohydrate heavy – are back in style big time for their myriad of health benefits.

Members of the grain group include wheat, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, cereals, pastas, and breads. They are naturally low in fat and high in several essential vitamins and nutrients including fiber, iron and zinc. They are also a natural energy booster and keep you full for sustained periods of time and therefore are a great addition to anyone trying to eat healthy.

But don’t be fooled - there are two types of grains available in the market and it is important that we choose the RIGHT kind of grain to reap the benefits: whole grains (think whole grain bread, oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice and whole grain pasta) and refined grains (white bread, white rice, white macaroni and plain white crackers) These ‘refined’ grains undergo a process which extends their shelf life, but which also unfortunately strips the grains of their essential ‘bran’ and ‘germ’ components (essentially all the good stuff) and thus strips us (the consumers) of essential their nutrients including iron, fiber and zinc. Whole grains on the other hand, have not undergone this milling process and thus have their bran and germ intact and contain these essential nutrients.

Diets enriched with whole grains have been shown to assist in weight loss, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. So don’t be afraid of these carbohydrates!

With the wealth of nutrient rich foods and artisanal foods available to us now, it has never been easier to incorporate whole grains in your diet. Make a healthy sandwich with whole grain bread, order your sushi with brown or black/brown rice (available at some sushi restaurants), create your pilaf with brown basmati rice, replace your white pasta with whole grain pasta in your cold pasta salads or weekly dinners and stick to high fiber cereals and granola made with oats and whole grains (Kashi and Moms Best Secrets are 2 of my faves). Also, check out some unique ancient grains now available to us in most grocery stores! To get started, check out my amazing homemade granola recipe here!

Image courtesy of flickr/yummy-porky/