Eat Whole Grains Every Day
There are compelling reasons to eat more whole grains, as refined carbs take increasing blame for our nation's health woes, including heart disease, weight gain, and diabetes. The USDA recommends that half of the grains we eat be whole, but she says go for more. It's easier (and tastier) than you might think. Ann Pittman's collection of family-friendly, go-to recipes from her book Everyday Whole Grains: 175 Recipes from Amaranth to Wild Rice shows you just how easy it can be. Here are three lessons we learned from her experiment with whole grains.
1. Gluten-Free Grains
If you are gluten sensitive, you can still get your daily whole-grain fix. Try these next-level options once you've mastered the basics.
Chocolate Buckwheat Waffles with Juicy Berries
Here, we've remade the typical syrup-doused waffle breakfast into a lower-sugar, fruit-forward, gluten-free, whole-grain plate with 273 fewer calories. In place of refined all-purpose flour, we use gluten-free buckwheat flour, which adds 2.4g filling fiber per serving; strawberries add another 2.4g. Barely sweetened berries and yogurt replace maple syrup, slashing 18g added sugar per serving.
2. Use Familiar Grains in New Ways
If you always keep quick-cooking steel-cut oats on hand, why not open up a whole new world for this pantry staple, using them in dishes beyond the usual morning porridge? They're more versatile than you may think. In this recipe, we've replaced the white rice typically used in jambalaya with oats, and the results are fantastic.
Steel-Cut Oats Jambalaya
The Creole classic gets a fun makeover with steel-cut oats, which are higher in protein and fiber than white rice. But I wouldn't dare change the heart of the recipe—the trinity of onion, bell pepper, and celery. Be sure to use quick-cooking steel-cut oats for the best results.
3. Go All In When Baking
Instead of tiptoeing into whole-grain baking, using a small percentage of whole-grain flour with a larger amount of refined all-purpose, just go for it and go all in. Bland all-purpose flour dilutes flavors, while nutty whole-grain flours amplify buttery, toasty, and chocolaty notes. You may discover that you need a little more liquid; you may not. But go bold and giving it a try. Executive Editor Ann Pittman now serves 100% whole-grain desserts to her kids, and they've never complained.
Crunchy-Chewy Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies
This has been Pittman's go-to "house" cookie for years—when she tells the kids she's making cookies, it's these guys, made with no-frills, good ol' whole-wheat flour. The good news is that they work with other flours, too (like brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, white whole-wheat flour and whole-wheat pastry flour). They're wonderfully crisp around the edges and chewy in the middle; that soft center comes from using all brown sugar (no granulated) and a drizzle of honey.