All carbohydrates are not created equally!  In fact, complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, significantly contribute protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin E, the B vitamins and trace minerals to our diets for overall health and well-being.

What’s a whole grain?  A whole grain product is made from the entire grain kernel, which is made up of three parts including the bran, endosperm and the germ with nothing removed.

Step 1:  Get to know these super foods!  Our top picks are:  barley, brown rice, millet, quinoa, wheat berries, popcorn, oats and bulgur to name a few, which are available from Bob’s Red Mill.  But, our favorite is QUINOA because it gets a thumbs up for taste and nutrition.  Just one cup cooked quinoa provides an excellent source of magnesium, phosphorous, manganese and dietary fiber (which most people don’t get enough of!).  And, it’s a good source of the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, B6 and folate as well as iron, zinc and copper — WOW!

Step 2Start cooking with these flavor-packed sweet, nutty grains with a chewy texture.  Grains are so fun and versatile and really inspire your creativity as you mix and match your seasonal vegetables and taste preferences you them as the nutrient-packed base for a great family meal.  Serve them warm or cold!

Quinoa and Broccoli Bake Recipe:

A big THANK YOU goes out to Rachel Lohman and her family of expert taste testers who shared a favorite homemade recipe with the HealthBarn USA!  Once we tried it, we knew we had to spread the healthy word to all of our families.  This versatile and savory “muffin” packs well for the lunchbox or makes a great side dish at dinner.  You get a triple-whammy of protein from the egg whites, cottage cheese, and of course, the quinoa; plus an excellent dose of immune boosting vitamin C.  Use those big muscles to whip up a batch today!

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese, whipped (16 ounces)
2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
4 large egg whites, beaten
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Little hands love making “mini” muffins!


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease 12 muffin-pan cups.
  2. Rinse quinoa with cold running water; drain. In medium saucepan, heat water with a pinch of salt to boiling over high heat; stir in quinoa and cook uncovered for approximately 11 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  3. While quinoa is cooking, combine cottage cheese, broccoli, egg whites, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Stir cooked quinoa into cottage cheese mixture.  Ladle mixture into muffin-pan cups, full, but not overflowing.  Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese on top of quinoa & broccoli bake.
  5. Bake quinoa & broccoli bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned on top and egg is set.

Makes 12 servings (1 muffin cup per serving).

Nutrition Facts per serving: 100 calories; 2g fat (1g sat fat, 0.5g mono, 0.5g poly, 0g trans fat); 5mg cholesterol; 11g carbohydrate (1g fiber, 1g sugar); 9g protein; 240mg sodium; 8% Daily Value (DV) vitamin A; 20% DV vitamin C; 6% DV calcium; 6% DV iron.

Families give whole grains a thumbs up!

I hope we have inspired you to cook with whole grains.  For a complete list of whole grains and more information regarding source, cook time and yields visit the Whole Grains Council and Oldways.

What’s your favorite whole grain and how do you prepare it?

– Stacey Antine, MS RD, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, co-host, Family Food Expert Internet Radio Show, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA

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