Wheat Berry Salad with Red FruitI get asked all the time what counts as a whole grain serving. It's an occupational hazard of being a registered dietician and working for a food and health magazine, I suppose.
This past summer, EatingWell and the USA Rice Federation joined forces and surveyed more than 1,000 people on their awareness of whole grains. Turns out, the majority of survey respondents didn't know what a whole grain is.
Do you? Test your whole grains I.Q. right now:
Which of the following are whole grains?
Drum roll, please!
The answer is: A, C and E.
Although 100% wheat bread and bran cereal are healthy choices, they don't count toward your whole-grain quota because the grains within them are no longer in their "whole" form, they're refined. Don't confuse 100% whole wheat bread with 100% wheat bread: the former does count as a whole grains serving. (It's recommended that you eat three 1-ounce servings of whole grains each day, by the way.) The key word is "whole."
Why do whole grains matter? According to the FDA: "Diets rich in whole-grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers."
Bump up your whole grains intake with these easy, delicious recipes:
Cheesy Popcorn is an easy-to-make, healthy and very low-calorie snack! Three cups of popped popcorn (what you get by popping 1 heaping tablespoon) equals 1 of your 3 recommended servings of whole grains. Pop away!
Creamy Porcini Barley Soup: I can't even count how many times I made this soup last winter! As soon as the temperature cools, I plan to make this grown-up version of creamy mushroom soup again-it's rich with earthy porcini and white mushrooms and tender, nutty grains of barley.
Wheat Berry Salad with Red Fruit: If you're looking for a recipe to turn your friends and family into wheat-berry fans, this is the one. The sweet and tart combination of raspberry vinegar, cranberries and apple has made it a favorite in my house this fall!
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup dried cranberries
3 cups Cooked Wheat Berries (recipe follows)
1 large Fuji apple, unpeeled, diced
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted (see Tip, below) and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1. Combine orange juice and cranberries in a small bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes.
2. Combine wheat berries, apple and pecans in a large bowl; stir gently. Drain the cranberries, reserving the juice. Stir the cranberries into the wheat berry mixture.
3. Whisk the reserved orange juice, vinegar and oil in a small bowl until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and stir gently to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Makes 6 servings, about 1 cup each.
Per serving: 316 calories; 14 g fat (2 g sat, 9 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 40 g carbohydrate; 7 g protein; 6 g fiber; 363 mg sodium; 90 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (15% daily value).
Tip: To toast chopped walnuts, heat a small dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add nuts and cook, stirring, until lightly browned and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
Cooked Wheat Berries
2 cups hard red winter-wheat berries (see Tip)
7 cups cold water
1 teaspoon salt
1. Sort through wheat berries carefully, discarding any stones. Rinse well under cool running water. Place in a large heavy saucepan. Add water and salt.
2. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse. To serve hot, use immediately. Otherwise, follow the make-ahead instructions.
Tip: Wheat berries can be found in natural-foods markets and online at King Arthur Flour, (800) 827-6836, bakerscatalogue.com, and Bob's Red Mill, (800) 349-2173, bobsredmill.com.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
By Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D.
Brierley's interest in nutrition and food come together in her position as an associate editor at EatingWell. Brierley holds a master's degree in Nutrition Communication from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. A Registered Dietitian, she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont.
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