Glorious Grains

This week we’re going to get a little bit into the “Grains” portion of your meals. This is where people get the majority of their carbohydrates, which as of late, have gotten a bad rep. While yes, too much of anything is not good, you do in fact need carbohydrates in your diet! They are responsible for giving you the much needed energy for your body to function properly, and it’s been recommended that 50-65% of your diet come from this group!

That being said, moderation is the key. And there are definitely better carbs than others. For this group, the important thing to remember is WHOLE grains! It’s also important to note that even if the package says “Multi-grain”, “100% Wheat” or “High in Fiber”, it’s not necessarily whole grain.  Look at the ingredient list and it will tell you if whole wheat/corn/grain is used. These foods are not processed which means they are more nutritious for you, and are a huge source of fiber which is something the average American does not get enough of. Any source that has at least 3 grams of fiber is considered a good source, and if it has 5 or more it is an excellent source!

To make it easier to discern, the Whole Grains Council has made a little stamp that is on breads and whole grain products showing how many grams they have per serving!

Making the switch to whole grains can be really easy with little substitutions here and there! Using whole wheat pasta instead of what you normally buy is a great way, because you really can’t even taste the difference! Buying whole grain cereals is also a great way to get whole grains in the diet, and even a simple snack like popcorn is a healthy, whole-grain snack!

Don’t listen to the latest fad diets that completely cut out carbs, they’re essential!! Without them your body is forced to take nutrients from your muscles to make energy, which wastes your muscles!! Like I always say…everything in moderation 🙂  –Jordan

Try this low-fat recipe and use whole grain/ whole wheat pasta!

Food Therapy Meal

1 pound whole wheat pasta (I used spaghetti)

1 pound large boiled shrimp (shelled and chilled)

1 recipe of Margherita Salsa Cruda

1 Cup shredded parmesan

Fresh lemons

  1. Boil the pasta according to package directions.  Drain
  2. Toss the hot pasta over the cold Margherita Salsa Cruda sauce and stir gently to combine and cover all of the pasta with the sauce.
  3. Stir in the parmesan cheese.
  4. Using tongs, place some of the pasta mixture onto a plate.  Arrange some of the chilled shrimp over the top and hit them with just a little squeeze of fresh lemon.
  5. You can always top it all with more parmesan cheese if you’d like!

This meal is interesting because the hot pasta releases flavor from the tomato sauce without breaking it down.  The sweet shrimp are a perfect addition to the spicy garlic and pepper and the squeeze of fresh lemon brightens the tomatoes.

Margherita Salsa Cruda

5 Roma tomatoes (ripe)

3 cloves of fresh garlic (you can adjust this up or down according to your tastes)

About ½ Cup of fresh basil leaves (1 pkg from the grocery store)

2 T olive oil

1 T balsamic vinegar

Pinch of crushed red pepper

Salt and pepper, to taste

  1.  Dice the tomatoes as small as you can without cutting off your fingers!  Put them in the bottom of a LARGE bowl
  2. Mince the garlic finely.  You can use a garlic press or food processor to get the pieces very small.  Add the garlic to the tomatoes in the bowl.
  3. Roll the basil leaves into a “tube” and finely chop it.  Add it to the tomatoes and garlic
  4. Drizzle the oil and vinegar over the top of the tomato mixture and season it all with a little red pepper and salt and pepper
  5. Put the salsa into the frig to “marinate.”  Give it at least 30 minutes to blend together or leave it overnight.

This salsa can be tossed with hot pasta, cold pasta, or served on top of toasted baguette as a bruschetta appetizer.  A sprinkle of parmesan cheese  on top is a good compliment.

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