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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Understanding whole grain for better grain choices

Quinoa Tabouleh
Quinoa Tabouleh - Contributed

Whole grains contain fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.There are many benefits to eating whole grains. They help to keep your digestive system healthy; control blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugars; control weight; and reduce your risk of some cancers.

Wondering what grains are actually considered whole grain?  Here are some examples:

• Barley, oats, corn, quinoa, millet, rye, brown and wild rice

• Whole grain whole wheat (including bulgur, kamut and spelt)

Eating More Whole Grains

Make at least half of your grain choices whole grain every day. Here are some ways to easily incorporate them in your day:

• Choose whole grain breads, bagels and tortillas.

• Eat brown or wild rice instead of white rice.  You could also mix them together.

• Choose whole grain pasta instead of white.

• Add pot barley or quinoa to homemade soups.

• Start the day with whole grain cereal or oatmeal.

• Try ancient grains like bulgur, quinoa or millet.

• Snack on popcorn.

• Fill ¼ of your plate with whole grains at each meal. 

Wondering how to cook whole grains?  Here are some tips:

• Double up when cooking whole grains such as quinoa, rice, bulgur, and barley. They freeze well and defrost easily.

• Cook the grain according to directions on package.

• Get more flavour by toasting grains in a dry frying pan just until they start to smell nutty.

• Use low sodium broth, stock or juice instead of water when cooking grains to add more flavour.

Hungry for more? Like @SobeysDietitian on Facebook and Twitter for more tasty tips and recipes or receive our schedule of events and Healthy Bits and Bites Newsletter directly to your inbox. Register at 

Nutrition Events

Did you know Sobeys dietitians offer a variety of free nutrition classes and one-on-one counselling. Contact Teresa for more information at 902-755-3645 or 

Teresa Flynn is a Sobeys dietitian in New Glasgow. 

Quinoa Tabouleh

Serves 6


1/2 cup 125 ml Chicken broth, sodium reduced

1/2 cup 125 ml Water

1/2 cup 125 ml Quinoa, rinsed

1 tbsp 15 ml Olive oil

2 tbsp 30 ml Lemon juice

2 cloves Garlic, minced

2 cups 500 ml Tomatoes, finely diced

1 cup 250 ml Cucumber, unpeeled, finely diced

3 Green onions, diced

1 medium Carrot, peeled, grated

1/2 cup 125 ml Parsley, chopped finely

2 tbsp 30 ml Mint, chopped finely

1/4 tsp 1 ml Pepper


1. Boil chicken broth and water in a medium pot and add quinoa. Reduce heat to

medium and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand

for 10 minutes.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Add cooled quinoa and toss to coat.

Nutrition Information per Serving:

Calories 101

Fat 3 grams

Carbohydrate 15 grams

Fibre 3 grams

Protein 4 grams

Sodium 64 milligrams

Tip: Cook extra quinoa and freeze for another meal.

Source: Sobeys Dietitians

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