Health Alert: Whole grains

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WDTV) -- Welcome back to Health Alert! Tonight, we will discuss healthy eating.

The next time your kids want a snack, try looking to whole grains. They are not only nutritious, but delicious! You’ve got to be a savvy consumer when buying whole grains, and tonight, we have Becky Foster, registered dietician and food service director at United Hospital Center, to inform us on how to make the right decisions.

Question: So, Becky, what exactly is a whole grain?

Answer: Most whole grains consist of three parts:

1. The bran
2. The germ
3. The endosperm

The bran and germ help keep your body healthy, your skin glowing, and your hair shiny. Including whole grains as part of a healthy diet can help reduce the risk for:
a. Heart disease
b. Diabetes
c. Some cancers

Question: What are some of the most important whole-grains that people are unaware of or overlook?

Answer: These would include oats, barley, amaranth, quinoa, and teff.
Oats contain beta-glucan fiber, which can lower cholesterol and help strengthen the immune system. It also work well in baked goods, including oatmeal cookies.

Barley is a fiber powerhouse, it also contains selenium, a powerful antioxidant. It is great added to soups, used to make a pilaf, or even made into a hot breakfast cereal.

Gluten-free amaranth is considered a complete protein because it contains all of the essential amino acids in proportions that humans need, including lysine which other grains tend to lack. Additionally, it's a good source of various minerals.

Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids and is gluten-free. Before cooking, use a fine mesh strainer to rinse the quinoa and remove the outer coating, called saponin, which can give the quinoa a bitter taste.

Teff is a rich source of fiber, iron, and thiamin. Teff grains are tiny and have a mild nutty flavor. It's an indispensable grain in Ethiopia where it's used to make the traditional flatbread called injera, and it's grown in the United States in the state of Idaho.

Question: You mentioned some great tips on which whole-grains to include in a diet, but how can someone add these grains to their diet?

Answer: Here are some tips that can make incorporating whole-grains into your diet simple and easy:

1.) Start with breakfast. Choose a fiber-rich, whole-grain breakfast cereal, oatmeal, or toast. Check the grams of fiber per serving; more fiber will keep you feeling fuller, longer

2.) Choose whole grains over refined items when selecting breads, buns, bagels, tortillas, pastas, and other grains

3.) Experiment with different grains such as buckwheat, bulgur, millet, quinoa, sorghum, whole rye, or barley

4.) Enjoy whole grains as a snack. Three cups of whole-grain, air-popped popcorn contains 3.5 grams of fiber and only 95 calories
Anchor: Thank you so much Becky for joining us in the studio, that is all for tonight’s Health Alert, but join us for an exclusive internet question where Becky will discuss how to prepare a whole-grain bowl that is both healthy and delicious!

Question: During the on-air interview you mentioned healthy tips regarding how to incorporate whole grains into your diet, do you have a recipe that could help accomplish this?

Answer: A whole grain bowl is composed of grain, rice, barley, quinoa, you name it—then topped with vegetables, a type of protein, and a dressing. Grain bowls are the simplest way to make and eat a hearty, yet light meal. One of my favorites is a chicken power bowl. This whole-grain bowl consists of chicken, quinoa, and rice for protein and carbohydrates. The assortment of vegetables brightens this tasty dish with color and makes it heartier. The signature portion of this dish is a light citrus dressing. This delectable dressing is composed of fresh cilantro, mint, honey, citrus seasoning, olive oil, cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and orange juice. This budget-friendly yet healthy meal is simple and quick to make.

Chicken Power Bowl 4 servings

8 oz Diced Grilled Chicken
4 oz Cooked Red Quinoa
4 oz Cooked Brown Rice
4 oz Corn Salsa
4 oz Shredded Cheddar cheese
4 oz Diced Tomatoes
4 oz Diced Green Onions
8 oz Fresh baby spinach
4 oz Citrus Dressing

Cook chicken, quinoa and brown rice – Keep warm while assembling remaining ingredients.

Mix together ingredients for Corn Salsa
¼ cup Corn Kernals – baked in oven for 5 minutes at 500 degrees.
2 oz Salsa

Make Citrus Dressing
2T Olive oil
1T Lemon Juice
1T Orange Juice
2t Dijon Mustard
½ t Minced Garlic
Dash Salt
Dash Pepper
• Whisk ingredients together, chill.
• Divide fresh spinach in bottom of 4 bowls.
• Place the remaining ingredients separately around the top of the spinach in each bowl.
• Top each bowl with 1T dressing.