The World's Healthiest Foods

Cooking Healthy with the World's Healthiest Grains

While cereal grains comprise a large percentage of the total quantity of food consumed by most Americans, many people eat only a few different types of grains. In fact, refined wheat products, instant oatmeal, and white rice are the only grains many people eat -- a shame since there are many different delicious varieties of whole grains. Each of these foods has its own unique and wonderful flavor and texture, plus a broad range of nutrients, including fiber, B vitamins, and trace minerals, all sadly lacking in refined grain products, such as white rice and those made with refined wheat.

Among the World's Healthiest Grains are barley, oats, millet, rye, quinoa and brown rice. While these foods may be foreign to you now, it is easy to get the hang of preparing these grains. In fact, all you need is a large saucepan and water, and you are on way!

Each of the World's Healthiest Grains can be purchased in any natural foods store, and each is available in bulk as well as in prepackaged form.

Before cooking, rinse the grain thoroughly under clean running water to remove any dirt or debris; this is especially important with quinoa, which has a natural soapy coating that must be rinsed away. Simply bring the needed amount of water to boil in a large saucepan, add your grain, and cook for the time specified.

A general rule of thumb to follow when cooking whole grains is to add one part grain to two (or two and a half) parts water or broth. When you add the grain, the liquid will stop boiling. After the liquid has returned to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for the time indicated for that grain, which can range from 10-50 minutes. Cooking time for grains varies tremendously. Brown rice, for example, may take up to 50 minutes, while quinoa is ready in about 15 minutes. If you pre-soak your oatmeal (simply put a quarter-cup per serving in a large glass bowl and cover with water the night before), it will cook in just 3-5 minutes. Once the grain is cooked, remove the lid and let the grain cool for a few minutes before serving.

To impart a nuttier flavor to the cooked grain, you can roast the grains first before boiling. To do this, place the grains in a dry skillet over low-medium heat, stirring them frequently. After just a few minutes, when they have achieved a golden color, transfer them to the boiling cooking liquid.

Cooked grains can be enjoyed in a variety of ways: