Here at Engine 2 we are not afraid of carbs, especially when those carbs are in the form of whole grains! We understand that carbohydrates feed our brain and our muscles and that avoiding them is a recipe for disaster.
Here is a list and explanation of some perfectly healthy and Engine 2 compliant, whole grains. Which will you choose to try?
Brown rice is whole grain rice with just the inedible outer hull removed. Unlike white rice, brown rice maintains the bran and germ layer, therefore, giving it a high fiber punch. There are quite a few versions of brown rice on the market. For example, there is a short grain version and there is a long grain version like jasmine or basmati. Brown rice takes a while to cook but its nutritional power is undeniable. It is high in fiber, low in fat, high in B-6, Magnesium, and Iron. Brown rice is also gluten-free.
Farro is actually a combination of three wheat species: emmer, spelt and einkorn which are all types of hulled wheat making Farro, not a gluten-free grain. Often used in soups and salads, Farro is also low in fat, high in fiber, protein, Zinc and Vitamin B-3. Farro used to be difficult to find, but these days you can find easy to make farrow options in places like Target or Walmart.
Groats is a term for the hulled kernels of various cereal grains, including oats. They contain include the cereal germ and the fiber-rich portion of the grain as well as the endosperm. Oat Groats looks very similar to brown rice and can often be used in place of brown rice in many recipes but also like brown rice, they do take longer to cook. Low in fat, high in fiber, potassium, magnesium and iron oat groats make a great option for breakfast or dinner. Depending on the company or processing plant, Oat Groats can be gluten-free but always look for a certified label on the package.
Barley is one of the oldest cultivated grains around. It is not gluten free but it is very high in iron, potassium, magnesium and Vitamin B-6. Lightly pearled barley is NOT a whole grain as small amounts of the bran are missing. Barley takes quite a long time to cook and if purchasing barley you want to be sure the words, whole barley or hulled barley on the package. Barley can be used as an alternative to rice or risotto in dishes.
Millet is a staple grain of India are also commonly eaten in China, South American, and Russia. It’s actually a group of small variable small-seeded grasses but is generally called a grain. It’s high in iron, magnesium, and protein and can also be ground and used a flour much like polenta. Millet is naturally gluten-free. Millet does not take that long to cook making it a great alternative to brown rice.
Much like millet, quinoa is not actually a grain but a seed. It is pronounced “keen-wah” and is botanically related to spinach. Naturally gluten-free, quinoa can be cooked in under 20 minutes and is available in a multitude of colors including, white, red, purple and black. Quinoa is high in protein, low in fat and has a wonderful nutty flavor.
Buckwheat is botanically a cousin of rhubarb thereby making buckwheat not a grain at all. Buckwheat is often what Japanese Soba Noodles are made from and in Russian is often called kasha. Buckwheat, despite the word “wheat” in its name, is in fact, gluten-free. Buckwheat can be cooked or sprinkled raw on top of other dishes like oatmeal for an added crunch. Buckwheat is high in protein, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus and is very low in fat.
Wild rice is technically not a rice at all and is actually a grass. Wild rice has twice the protein and fiber of brown rice but less iron and calcium. Wild rice is often mixed together with brown rice to form a pilaf because it is fairly expensive to buy on its own and has quite a strong flavor. Wild rice is gluten-free.
Of the list above, I have my favorites but I always love experimenting with new grains. What new-to-you whole grain will you try?