Want to lose weight, especially around the middle? Cooking with more whole grains can help, according to a study released earlier this year. Even better, whole grains may have other health benefits.
A study from Pennsylvania State University reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who cut calories and consumed more whole grains not only lost weight, but also lost belly fat and lowered their levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) which is a measure of chronic inflammation, when compared with dieters who ate refined grains. All the dieters also decreased cholesterol levels.
I've been sold on eating whole grains myself for a few years now, ever since I became converted to the low-glycemic index way of eating. However, I've discovered that for people who don't cook, finding whole grain baked goods can be a challenge. Many types of bread list "wheat flour" as the first ingredient, but if you're looking for whole grain products, the ingredient list list should say "100% whole wheat flour" or "whole grains" should be the first ingredient listed.
Products that contain whole grains and refined grains both (as most breads do) should have at least 51% whole grain flour, according to the author of this study. Many good cooks have become sold on the idea of white whole wheat flour, which can often replace white flour in recipes but has the health benefits of whole wheat flour.
Luckily, there are also plenty of ways to get whole brains besides bread. Here are a few ideas to get you started cooking with more whole wheat, brown rice, barley, and oatmeal, some of the most common whole grains.
Whole Wheat and Whole Grain Baking
Whole Wheat Orange Spice Muffins from Pinch My Salt
100% Whole Grain Zucchini Bread from Crunchy Parent
100% Whole Wheat Lemon Poppy Muffins from Green Lite Bites
Whole Wheat Pita Bread from Wild Yeast
Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska
Whole Wheat Yogurt Waffles with Blueberries from Almost Vegetarian
Raisin Banana Scones from The Perfect Pantry
New Method for Cooking Brown Rice from Mark Bittman at The New York Times
Oven-Baked Brown Rice from Kitchen Parade
Stir-Fried Brown Rice from A Veggie Venture
Baked Brown Rice Risotto from Karina's Kitchen - Recipes from a Gluten-Free Goddess
Afghani Fried Brown Rice from Trini Gourmet
Brown Rice and Green Tea Porridge from Just Hungry
Brown and Wild Rice from Lisa's Kitchen
Rapini with Brown Rice and Chickpeas from The Well-Seasoned Cook
Quick Veggie Brown Rice from Dani Spies
Barley Risotto with Pesto from A Wee Bit of Cooking
Beef and Barley Stew from Closet Cooking
Mediterranean Barley Salad with Roasted Eggplant from FamilyStyle Food
Wild Black Rice with Barley from Almost Turkish Recipes (That's Burcu's photo of this delicious looking dish at the beginning of this post.)
Chicken, Leek, and Barley Soup from Ambrosia and Nectar
Banana Barley Muffins from Baking Bites
French Barley Salad from Eat Me, Delicious
Estonian Barley Mousse from Nami Nami
Barley with Carrots, Onions, and Marsala from Lucullian Delights
Check my earlier post Beyond Cereal: Are You Eating Enough Oatmeal? for loads of ideas for cooking with oatmeal.
There are many more delicious whole grain options, and countless other good recipes for the four grains I've spotlighted here, so if you have a good recipe idea, please leave a link in the comments.
BlogHer Food Editor Kalyn Denny also blogs at Kalyn's Kitchen where she uses whole grains in dishes like Zucchini Stuffed with Brown Rice, Ground Beef, Red Pepper, and Basil and Brown Rice with Cashews and Herbs.
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