Did you notice any unfamiliar items in your supermarket the last time you went grocery shopping? The next time you browse the dry food aisles or bulk bins at the supermarket, make note of all the new supergrains you see. Many of them are today’s newest, most coveted superfoods.
Oddly enough, these grains have been in existence for thousands of years in Middle Eastern countries; only recently, as society promotes more healthy living options, have they made their way to our Western plates. In addition to providing the body with a complex carbohydrate energy source, these grains are rich in fiber , protein, vitamins, and minerals.
If you compare their nutritional value with that of potatoes or corn, for example, you will see that supergrains simply give you more bang for your buck and your body. Let’s demystify a few of their exotic names so that you can start incorporating them into your family’s diet.
Kamut and freekeh
Kamut and freekeh are two of the up-and-coming grains on the market. Kamut, also known as Khorasan wheat, is a slow-cooking grain with a chewy consistency and is larger than regular wheat. Kamut is also high in antioxidants , which can help prevent age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, and certain cancers.
Freekeh, or roasted green wheat, is similar in appearance to bulgur wheat. All make for a lovely side dish or salad base. Here is a basic starter recipe for freekeh with a spicy, Mexican flare. Freekeh is also great with lentils, raisins, cinnamon, or any other of your favorite ingredients for a delicious and nutritious change of pace.
Quinoa has been popular in Latin America for thousands of years. Many people call it the new couscous. Unlike it’s similar-looking counterpart, however, quinoa is packed with considerably more protein. Quinoa cooks in about the same amount of time as rice and has a unique, hearty, nutty flavor.
You will know the cooking process is complete when the tiny kernels rupture. Quinoa is great in tossed salads or as a hearty side dish for beef, fish, or chicken. Here is a Peruvian soup recipe your whole family will enjoy as the days grow colder.
Sprout can be substituted for wheat flour in recipes that call for it. Some specialty cookies, breads, and even tortillas boast “made with spelt” on the package in order to appeal to the more health-conscious consumer. Although a great wheat-flour alternative, it is important to remember that spelt, while lower in gluten levels, is not gluten-free.
If you’re feeling adventurous, these homemade spelt tortillas are the perfect accompaniment to the previously referenced chili and soup dishes.
These supergrains, in addition to being nutritional powerhouses, are also helpful when trying to stay fit or lose weight . The combination of fiber and protein will keep you feeling fuller longer while giving you energy throughout the day. So, if you’re looking to give your pantry a makeover and your body a boost, stock up on these supergrains and channel your own superpowers!