Nutrition Notes: Serving up the scoop on ancient grains

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition & Wellness Educator

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Below are a few of the great grains. This week, try incorporating one or two of them into your favorite dish. You will not be disappointed!

1. Quinoa: (pronounced “keen-wah”)  This South America native grain can be substituted for rice in any dish. It cooks rather quickly, is high in protein, and is a great source of iron and magnesium. Try Quinoa Veggie Salad for a fresh lunch!

2. Spelt Berries: This sweet and nutty grain tastes a little like barley and dates back to a time before wheat was commonly used. It was an important grain in ancient Greece and Rome. It is high in protein and fiber and when cooked, can be similar to a risotto. Try this protein-packed salad: Energizing Protein Power Salad.

3. Amaranth: This grain was a favorite among the Native Americans and the Aztecs (not San Diego State Aztecs). This grain is rich in iron, protein, and calcium. Switch out your usual morning oatmeal for this: Blueberry Amaranth Porridge.

4. Millet: This is the smallest of the ancient grains and is actually the name given to a group of several different small grains. It is a great source of magnesium and can be added into your favorite breads, cereals, or soups. Try Millet-Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes” as a new side dish this week!

Incorporating different grains is a great way to get a variety of nutritional benefits and can give family favorites fun and exciting new tastes! Do you have any favorite recipes that use ancient grains? Share them with us on Facebook or Twitter!