Many consumers report feeling overwhelmed by the long list of unpronounceable ingredients on food product labels. There is a solution for those wanting to simplify the labels in their pantries: create your own list of grain ingredients by starting with basic whole grains.

Many consumers report feeling overwhelmed by the long list of unpronounceable ingredients on food product labels. There is a solution for those wanting to simplify the labels in their pantries: create your own list of grain ingredients by starting with basic whole grains.

The USDA introduced MyPlate in the summer of 2011 to help guide Americans toward healthier eating habits. “Make at least half your grains whole grains,” is a key message from MyPlate. A whole grain still contains the three major parts that were present as the grain grew in the field: the bran, endosperm and germ. Each part provides a unique set of healthy nutrients, including eight vitamins, magnesium, protein, plant omega-3 fats and fiber. When one or more part is removed to make, for example, all-purpose flour, those nutrients are lost.

The first step to increase your intake of whole grains is to look for grain foods – cereal, pasta, bread, wraps, bagels and others – that list a whole grain as the first, and therefore the most plentiful, ingredient. Look for whole barley, bulgur, millet, quinoa, rice, rye, wheat or other grains.

Next, it is time to venture into the kitchen to cook your own whole grains. A wide variety of grains may be purchased at your local supermarket. Experiment with different grains to find the flavor and texture most appealing to your family. Start with the bulgur recipe below or enter a grain name into your favorite Internet search engine to locate a recipe. Remember that grains are versatile; most are not sweet or savory on their own. Experiment with barley in your morning bowl of hot cereal and an oat pilaf for dinner.

Try this recipe using bulgur, a whole grain relative of wheat that is usually sold parboiled and dried, making it quick and easy to use.



COLORFUL BULGUR SALAD

Source: Allrecipes.com
Serves 4


All you need
1/2 cup cracked bulgur wheat
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 small cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
3 green onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3/4 tablespoon chili powder
1 pinch garlic powder

All you do
1. Place bulgur in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Drain and transfer to a small bowl.
2. In a small saucepan bring the chicken broth to a boil. Stir in the bulgur, remove from the heat and let stand for 1 hour.
3. Stir the cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and green onions into the bulgur.
4. In a small bowl whisk the lime juice, chili powder and garlic powder together. Pour over the bulgur mixture and stir until combined. Cover and chill for 2 hours before serving. Stir before serving.


Nutritional information per serving: 65 calories, 1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 127 mg sodium, 14 g total carbohydrate, 3.5 g fiber, 3 g protein.