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The Best Grains to Keep in Your Pantry

Whole grains provide protein, fiber and a wealth of other nutrients. Learn which make the best pantry staples.
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One of the best changes you can make to your diet is the elimination of white flour in favor of whole grains. These superfoods offer more nutrition and will help you stay alert and full until your next meal. They're a smart way to fuel the body and also manage your weight.

Benefits of Whole Grains
White rice and white flour are high in carbohydrates that are converted to sugars within the body. While they produce a burst of energy, they can also cause the blood sugar to drop just as quickly, resulting in that tired feeling you may get shortly after eating them. These types of carbohydrates are also more readily stored in the body as fat. 

Whole grains, on the other hand, provide sustainable energy due to their fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates that feed the muscles and keep blood sugar levels stable. This means you're less likely to feel hungry between meals and will eat less during them, making whole grains a valuable tool for weight loss and weight management. They're also more heart healthy and support the digestive system for regularity.

The Best Whole Grains to Keep On Hand
Whole grains are worth stocking up on because of their long shelf life and versatility. Having a variety at your disposal can help you create a variety of dishes so you won't get bored. These eight whole grains are rich in nutrients and flavor:

  • Amaranth -- Amaranthus spp., or amaranth, is also abundant in the amino acid lysine, which can help lower cholesterol and support weight management.
  • Quinoa -- Chenopodium quinoa, also referred to as quinoa, is rich in minerals like zinc, calcium and manganese as well as a ton of protein for strong muscles and a healthy heart.
  • Bulgur -- Triticum ssp., or bulgur, has an amazing 26 g of fiber per serving to keep you full and energized while also supporting the heart, particularly blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Brown Rice -- Oryza sativa, or brown rice, is a great source of vitamin B6, which supports cognitive health.
  • Buckwheat -- Fagopyrum esculentum, also known as buckwheat, is known for its rutin content, which assists the actions of vitamin C within the body for greater antioxidant benefits.
  • Freekeh -- Also spelled frikeh, freekeh contains plenty of minerals like iron, calcium and zinc for healthy immune and circulatory systems.
  • Millet -- Panicum milliaceum, also referred to as millet, is a wonderful source of the mineral magnesium, which supports strong bones and teeth as well as the central nervous system.
  • Teff -- Eragrostis tef, or teff, provides 10 g of protein per serving for lean muscle mass as well as calcium for strong bones.

Serving Suggestions
All of the grains mentioned above are versatile and can be used to create both side dishes and main courses. They can be either steamed or boiled to achieve the desired texture and then mixed with both sweet and savory ingredients. Using stock to cook them will add a richer flavor. Add these grains to a cold salad for a more satisfying lunch or toss with fresh herbs and top with a protein of your choice for a heartier meal. Lastly, try swapping out your usual oatmeal for one of these grains for a breakfast that will keep you feeling full until lunch.

Shop for whole grains and more to create healthy meals and eVitamins and we'll be back tomorrow with more health news and tips.

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