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Grow in Health with Sprouted Grains

Food labels can be confusing can’t they? Take a stroll down the bread aisle and you will see any number of claims on the front of the package.

* Made with whole grains
* 15-grain
* Multigrain
* Sprouted

What should you really be looking for when shopping for grain-based foods like bread, cereal, and crackers? Read on to learn how to spot a true whole grain and why sprouted grains are even better for you!

What is whole grain?

According to the Whole Grains Council, whole grains or foods made from them contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions. This means that 100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ, and endosperm – must be present to qualify as a whole grain.

The following grains, when eaten in a form including the bran, germ and endosperm, are considered whole grain:

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn, including whole cornmeal and popcorn
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Rice, both brown and wild rice
  • Rye
  • Sorghum 
  • Teff
  • Triticale
  • Wheat, including varieties such as spelt, emmer, farro, einkorn, Kamut®, durum and forms such as bulgur, cracked wheat and wheat berries

When considering grain-based products like bread, ignore the front of the package and check the list of ingredients. If the first ingredient contains the word “whole” (such as “whole wheat flour” or “whole oats”), it’s likely that the product is predominantly whole grain.

Why are whole grains better?

Whole grains—particularly those on the Fx 100 list (steel cut oats, quinoa, wild rice and brown rice)—and breads, wraps, and crackers made from these grains, offer more dietary fiber, b-vitamins, and minerals than their refined counterparts.

What is a sprouted grain?

Sprouting involves soaking grains in water until a sprout forms. After it is sprouted, it can be dehydrated and ground into flour, which is then used to make sprouted breads, crackers and chips!

Whole, unrefined sprouted grains are more beneficial for your health than non-sprouted because the soaking process allows for better digestion and nutrient absorption. They are also higher in fiber, antioxidants, and beneficial enzymes, making them a better option for those with diabetes.

From your Fx 100 list, sprouted grains include sprouted quinoa, rice, and bread, wraps and crackers made from sprouted grains. Seeds, nuts, beans, and lentils can also be sprouted and should be chosen when possible.

My favorite sprouted bread is Ezekiel. Found in the freezer section, this bread is as wholesome as it gets, with no preservatives or artificial ingredients!

Sprouted grain ideas

Give your grains an upgrade with these simple meal ideas. I promise you won’t miss your old favorites…and you’ll even feel better too!

Replace:

  • White rice with sprouted quinoa as a side dish.
  • Regular crackers with sprouted varieties and serve with cashew-based cheese.
  • Refined bread with sprouted for sandwiches, burgers and toast. Check out this recipe for Sprouted Avocado Toast with Superfood Toppings.

Food for thought …

Think addition rather than subtraction. Instead of eliminating certain foods, it’s much more effective to add nutritious foods to your meals. When you approach eating in this fashion, the healthier foods have a way of crowding out the less healthy ones.

Melanie Jatsek
By Melanie Jatsek RD, LD
Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek believes that the answer to a strong, healthy and vibrant body lies within. She graduated cum laude from the University of Akron, earning a degree in Nutrition & Dietetics and has over 20 years of experience in wellness program development, health coaching and professional speaking. As a published author of three books and registered dietitian for Heinen’s Grocery Store, Melanie offers programs, services, and tools to help Heinen’s customers take inspired action to build the healthy body they were meant to live in…without giving up their favorite foods.

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