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Whole Grain for Health: The Best Way to Eat More Whole Grains Is to Make Them Delicious


Whole Grain for Health: The Best Way to Eat More Whole Grains Is to Make Them Delicious

If you’re looking to improve what you’re eating in the New Year—or literally any other time—whole grains should be at the top of your grocery list. The case for piling shopping carts high with farro, quinoa, and other unprocessed grains is simple: These are some of the most wholesome and wholly delicious things you can eat, period. But how exactly do you turn a bag of buckwheat into dinner? And what even is millet, anyways? Chef Josh McFadden is here to help.

The executive chef-owner of Ava Gene’s in Portland, Oregon and author of the pioneering vegetable cookbook Six Seasons is back with a new cookbook, Grains for Every Season. Each chapter has cooking techniques and nutritional breakdowns that unlock the mysteries of the whole grain pantry, from barley to wheat berries. But the fact that they’re great for you is secondary to how good they taste: “For me, whole grain excitement is about flavor first,” says McFadden. “Whole grains are so diverse in flavor and texture and there are so many more heritage varieties popping up from smaller farmers at grocery stores and farmers markets.”

If your current cooking repertoire starts and ends at white rice, swapping in different grains might feel a bit overwhelming. But in reality, it’s no big deal. The benefit—truly delicious carbs that just so happen to be great for you—outweighs the minor learning curve. And you don’t have to demystify the back of that Bob’s Red Mill bag alone: McFadden talked to GQ to make the case for cooking with whole grains and share some favorite cooking strategies.

Whole grains are incredibly good for you.

Unlike refined grains like white rice and white flour, whole grains still have the bran, endosperm, and germ attached. These parts of the grain are nutritional powerhouses loaded with everything the seeds (and also we) need to thrive, like fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and good-for-you fats. The nutritional difference between refined grains and whole grains is significant: Brown rice has almost twice as much of every important nutrient as white rice. Barley is loaded with fiber but especially beta-glucan, which has been…

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