SMART Goals for Healthy Living
YMCA OF GREATER WAUKESHA COUNTY
REAP GAINS FROM WHOLE GRAINS
Friday, April 16, 2021
Eating grains, especially whole grains, provides health benefits. Grains provide many nutrients that are vital for the health and maintenance of our bodies. Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain is a grain product. Bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, grits, and tortillas are examples of grain products. Foods such as popcorn, rice, and oatmeal are also included in the grains group.
Grains are divided into two subgroups: whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel ― the bran, germ, and endosperm. Examples of whole grains include whole-wheat flour, bulgur (cracked wheat), oatmeal, whole grain cornmeal, and brown rice.
Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. This is done to give grains a finer texture and improve their shelf life, but it also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins. Some food products are made from mixtures of whole grains and refined grains, but only foods that are made with 100% whole grains are considered a whole grain food.
Grains are important sources of many nutrients, including complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, several B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate), and minerals (iron, magnesium, and selenium).
Dietary fiber from whole grains or other foods, may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is also important for proper bowel function.
The B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin play a key role in metabolism - they help the body release energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates. B vitamins are also essential for a healthy nervous system.
Iron is used to carry oxygen in the blood. Fortified whole and refined grain products, including many ready-to-eat cereals, are major sources of non-heme iron in American diets.
Whole grains are sources of magnesium and selenium. Magnesium is a mineral used in building bones and releasing energy from muscles. Selenium protects cells from oxidation. It is also important for a healthy immune system.
OVERNIGHT NO-COOK BANANA OATMEAL
For a weekday morning rush, you’ll be glad you prepared breakfast the night before. The American Heart Association's recipe calls for bananas and walnuts or pecans, but you can easily customize overnight oats by adding your favorite fresh fruit, a couple of tablespoons of nut butter, or cocoa powder and a few dark chocolate chips.
QUINOA CHICKEN SALAD
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 cup water or low-sodium broth
- 2 cups chicken breast, cooked and cubed
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup Craisins
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Bring water or broth to a boil, stir in quinoa. Lower heat, cover and cook until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool.
- Combine remaining ingredients with quinoa and chill in the refrigerator for about one hour before serving. Can be served as a main dish or as smaller appetizers.
MEDITERRANEAN FARRO SALAD
For the Salad:
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup uncooked farro, rinsed and drained
- 1 large cucumber, seeded and finely diced
- 2/3 cup roasted red peppers, finely diced
- 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, finely diced
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
For the Dressing:
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- Pinch of each: garlic powder, salt, black pepper
- Stir together stock and farro in a medium saucepan and cook according to package instructions. Remove from heat and drain off any extra stock once cooked. Let farro cool for at least 10 minutes.
- To make the vinaigrette, whisk all ingredients together until combined.
- Transfer cooled farro to a large mixing bowl and add in remaining ingredients, including vinaigrette. Toss until combined.
- Serve immediately, or cover and store in fridge for up to two days.
Recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven
MORNING GLORY MUFFINS
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup ground flax
- 1/2 cup unsalted chopped pecans
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup applesauce
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 2 cups shredded carrots (about 4 large carrots)
- 1 cup shredded apple (about 1 apple)
- Preheat oven to 425° F. Prepare muffin pan with spray or liners.
- In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, flax, and pecans together.
- In a medium bowl whisk eggs, brown sugar, honey, oil, applesauce, orange zest, orange juice, and vanilla until combined.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir. Add raisins, carrots, and apple. Fold gently until no flour pockets remain.
- Spoon batter into liners, filling them all the way to top.
- Bake for 5 minutes at 425° F then, keeping muffins in the oven, reduce oven temperature to 350° F. Bake for an additional 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow muffins to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin pan and then transfer to wire rack.
Recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction
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