Grains and spices


With the New Year in full swing, and the resolutions still holding on, it’s time to take a closer look at (sometimes boring) grains and how you can spice them up.

As a food group, carbohydrates get quite a bad press and there have been many tricks to reduce, or eliminate completely, their consumption. Refined carbohydrates – found in white bread, sugary cereals and other junk foods – can raise your fat levels and contribute to your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Making simple swaps to a whole-grain variant can help protect you from heart problems, diabetes and some forms of cancer – alongside a healthy and balanced diet, of course!

Whole grain foods are made from cereal grains that include the whole kernel – the essential parts where all the naturally-occurring nutrients are preserved.

Have a look out for the following on your next shop, or if you find yourself in a health food store. Some are more readily available than others and they do vary in price:

  • Brown Rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgar Wheat
  • Corn (un-popped popcorn)
  • Freekeh
  • Oatmeal/ Whole Oats
  • Whole Grain Barley
  • Whole Rye
  • Whole Wheat
  • Whole-wheat Couscous
  • Wild Rice
  • Quinoa

A lot of these grains are very bland, just the same as plain white pasta or white rice, so need a bit of spicing up or flavour adding to make them more palatable. There’s no need to add oil or fats, as that would add unnecessary calories and fat to your diet.

  • Cooking them in a stock, rather than plain water, adds flavour
  • Use whole, or ground spices once they’re cooked:
    • Paprika
    • Chilli Powder
    • Garlic
    • Chilli Flakes
    • Garam Masala
    • Cayenne Pepper
  • If you’re adding them to salads, chop up fresh herbs and add those
  • A squeeze of lime or lemon juice
  • Balsamic vinegar

There’s a load of different ways you can cook the grains, and things you can add. I’m going to try and find some interesting and healthy recipes, so I’ll be sure to pass them on!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to get in touch via email or Facebook.

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