Great Grains

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Great Grains
Jacqueline Marcus, MS, RD, LD, FADA, Nutrition Consultant in Northfield, Illinois tells her clients and supermarket tour attendees about grains and how to enjoy them in new ways. She points out great, easy ways to incorporate more of these in our diets everyday.
Don’t fall prey to the nutrition myth that grain foods are fattening; this is the current belief of
4 in 10 Americans. Calorie comparisons prove otherwise with a half cup of cooked grains having about 100 calories and almost no fat. A recent Gallop Survey shows that only 12 percent of Americans are getting 6 to 11 servings of grains each day, as recommended by the Food Guide Pyramid.
Whenever I am on a supermarket tour, I like to point out the newer grain combinations that are a welcome change of pace from plain rice or pasta. Some products mix grains or combine them with beans to increase flavor (and protein and fiber) and vary the texture. These handy products can be enhanced with small amounts of lean protein, vegetables or salad to complete a meal.
Grain-based meals make sense in “speed-scratch” cooking, where you assemble homemade meals using a combination of prepared ingredients. Pasta dishes and stirfries are easily made with precut vegetable mixes and premade sauce. Instant brown rice and couscous are two grain products that cook fast for these types of quick meals.
Two types of dishes where most grains work well, without too much effort, are soups and salads. A couple of tablespoons of uncooked rice or barley added to a pot of simmering vegetables will thicken it and make it more hearty. For salads, the soft textures of grains work very well with crisp vegetables.
If you like spaghetti, you can also serve different types of grains, such as barley, bulgur, couscous or millet instead, with the cooked grain serving as a bed for your favorite pasta sauce.
Snacks, such as whole grain crackers, popcorn and baked corn chips, can increase your daily quota of grain products, and add fiber and B vitamins.
On the right, I have listed a wide variety of grain products that are easy to find and fast to make. Omit the salt and butter or margarine called for on package directions and add fresh vegetables and lean protein and you have a great meal that will fill you up instead of out.

Jacqueline’s Shopping List
For Grain Variety:
(Omit the salt and butter or margarine called for on package directions and add fresh vegetables and lean protein.)
• Healthy Complements Jamaican Black Beans & Brown Rice
• Healthy Complements New Orleans Red Beans & Brown Rice
• Kashi
• Marrakesh Express Couscous (different flavors)
• Melting Pot Foods Terrazza Sicilian Red Lentils & Bow Ties, Florentine Red Beans & Fusilli.
• Mothers Multigrain Hot Cereal
• Mothers Whole Wheat Cereal
• Near East Couscous (different flavors)
• Near East Pasta (different flavors)
• 10 Minute Brown & Wild Mix
• Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice
• Uncle Ben’s Multigrain
• Uncle Ben’s Wild Blend
• Uncle Ben’s Rice Trio
• Uncle Ben’s Red Beans & Rice
• Uncle Ben’s White Bean and Pasta
• Uncle Ben’s Black Bean & Rice
• Uncle Ben’s Tomato Basil with Shell Pasta
• Wasa Fiber Rye crackers
• Wasa Multi Grain crackers
• Wasa Whole Wheat with Oats and Crushed Fruit crackers
Easy-to-Find Grains:
• Quaker Quick Cooking Barley- add to soup or make a fabulous side dish with this chewy, earthy grain that is rich in Vitamin E.
• Cornmeal - make bread, porridge and side dishes with this smooth grain that has niacin, lycine and trytophan. Lime-treated cornmeal contains calcium as well.
• Oats - a classic cereal grain that improves the flavor and texture of bread and gives you soluble fiber to help lower cholesterol.
• Aromatic rice - such as arborio, basmati and jasmine are easily digested, gluten-free grains that add protein, fiber and variety, along with a nutty flavor, to everyday meals.

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