There is such a variety of grains out there ready for our use…why limit ourselves to whole wheat? My recommendation for beginning on the pathway to more nutritious eating is to try and eliminate white flour and replace with whole wheat (read more here). This is a huge step in the right direction! As you become more familiar with whole wheat, it is very nutritious to start including a variety of grains in your diet!
Here is what we use around our kitchen. There are many more quality grains out there, but I have simplified my kitchen to use some of the easiest to work with…
Hard White Spring Wheat
This is my choice when it comes to choosing a whole wheat grain. It has protein levels comparable to hard red winter (the standard available whole wheat), and yet produces a bread light in color and texture that has all the nutrition of traditional whole wheat. It is light and sweet! I use this mainly in homemade bread or pizza crust, but more recently have been loving the use of spelt!
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
Kamut is a wheat, but is 20-40% higher in protein than whole wheat, slightly higher in 8 of 9 minerals, considerably higher in magnesium and zinc, and up to 65% higher in amino acids. It produces a texture lighter than whole wheat. My experimenting has shown that kamut produces a more crumbly product when using in quick breads, muffins, desserts, etc. but works superior to wheat when used in pizza crust or tortillas. It rolls out surprisingly well! In combination with oats it makes the best waffles and pancakes!
Spelt dates back to Old Testament times (see Exodus 9:31, 32; Isaiah 28:25; Ezekiel 4:9). Containing both soluble and insoluble fibers, spelt is easily digested and has been considered beneficial for digestion, gas, and nausea. It is rich in essential fatty acids and higher in fiber than wheat. Spelt is a high energy food due to its higher fat and protein content than wheat. Spelt makes a delicious homemade bread (Sue Gregg has a wonderful homemade bread which works very well with spelt), wonderful biscuits (used in combination with pastry flour), and tortillas (this was my favorite experiment this past week – yum!).
Although kamut and spelt are slightly more expensive than your standard whole wheat, their superior nutrition makes them an excellent substitute.
Oats provide high energy, containing one of the highest amounts of grain protein and fat. They are rich in iron, phosphorus, and inositoal, with a good amount of minerals. Oats are the grain highest in vitamin B-1 and are a good source of vitamin B-2 and vitamin E. Oats also contain silicon, valuable to healthy hair, skin, eyes, and nails. A bowl of hot oatmeal served daily for breakfast is one of the easiest ways you can provide whole grain nutrition on a strict food budget. We enjoy soaked oatmeal 2-3 times a week!
Brown rice is far superior to white rice in nutrient content. We like to use it as an accompanying dish such as with chicken curry, or to incorporate in with a casserole. Alot of times I will throw it in with a casserole (such as crockpot ragout, or shepherd’s pie) even if the recipe does not call for it…helps incorporate more healthy grains in our diet! We also use brown rice pasta for all our Italian cooking! It provides more of a sticky pasta and yet it is really delicious!
Quinoa is a funny little grain that is very nutty and somewhat crunchy in flavor and rich in amino acid protein. I use it in replacement of brown rice on occasion and in the same manner. Quinoa & Black Beans is a good recipe for a side dish.
This is a fun little grain to just throw in with my bread and banana millet muffins! I also have ground it alot together with brown rice in the past to make a breakfast porridge for Karis before introducing gluten. It also works very well in combination with brown rice for waffles/pancakes too!
So here are your simple steps towards eating healthy grains:
1. Begin eliminating white flour for the most part!
2. Increase a variety in your grains
3. Learn about the benefits of soaking your grains to make them easily digestible to your body!
For a great list of further recipes with many of these grains and others, check these two posts by Michele at Frugal Granola. Very thorough review with an abudance of recipe links!
Kimi @ Nourishing Gourmet shares her Grain Buying Tips!