With school back in session, it’s time for a lesson in whole grains–those wonderful, healthful little seeds of goodness, much maligned by faddish no-carb diets. Don’t get your kids caught up in that. Teach them about good, well-balanced eating, which includes whole grains.
Nutrition experts tell us again and again to eat whole grains. Whole grains are delicious and versatile and they do the body a world of good, so who needs encouragement? With blueberry buckwheat pancakes for breakfast, tomato, corn and quinoa salad for lunch, mushroom barley risotto for dinner, and glazed lemon and poppy seed popcorn for an anytime snack, whole grains have never tasted so good.
On the nutrition side, whole grains provide many nutrients vital for the health and maintenance of our bodies and may even reduce the risk of some chronic diseases. And whole grains are a source of fiber, which grabs onto toxins as it makes its way through the digestive system. You’ve got to love this workhorse of the food world, even willing to take out the trash.
But why is a whole grain more nutritionally valuable than its counterpart, the refined grain? The word “refined” certainly makes it sound desirable. A whole grain is made up of 3 parts: The bran, the germ, and the endosperm. A refined grain has had its bran and germ removed, which removes most of the nutrients in the process.
Anatomy of a Kernel
Bran: the outside layer of the grain and contains most of the seed’s fiber, B vitamins and trace minerals.
Germ: the part of the grain from which a new plant would sprout if you were to plant it. It is a concentrated source of vitamins including vitamin E, B-vitamins and antioxidants.
Endosperm: contains starchy carbohydrates, proteins and small amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Embrace a whole grain today, preferably with your molars. Enjoy this delicious and healthful recipe today.
Glazed Lemon and Poppy Seed Popcorn
Note: the use of egg white helps the flavors adhere to the popcorn, without adding fat through the more traditional use of oils.
Makes: 4 quarts
4 quarts unbuttered and unsalted popcorn (air popped)
1 egg white
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (or foil sprayed with cooking spray). Spread popcorn onto prepared baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg white, sugar, salt and lemon extract until foamy. Pour over popcorn and toss to coat evenly.
- Bake 20 minutes, stirring once midway through baking time. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.