Boost your diet by drinking your grains
When you think of whole grains and wheat, you most likely picture a bowl of wonderfully healthy organic oats, or maybe you see a field of barley. You may even think of your favorite recipes: a loaf of bread fresh from the oven, your morning whole wheat bagels or even a granola muffin. However, if you’re looking to add the goodness of these grains to your diet, you could consider adding them to a smoothie or shake.
The versatility of whole grains
One of the great advantages of cooking with whole grains is that they are wonderfully versatile. They can be used in sweet and savory dishes, and also as an ingredient in smoothies and shakes. Select your ingredients carefully and you can easily make a fresh, organic drink that contains all the health benefits of whole grains, as well as the additional benefits derived from fresh fruit and vegetables, such as vitamins and fiber. For added protein content, you could also add some organic whey to your shake or smoothie. This way you can have a healthy and sustaining drink for breakfast, as a healthy snack or as an energy boost before or after a workout. The other advantage to making your own shakes and smoothies is that you can let your imagination run wild! All you need is a blender and you can experiment with different ingredients until you find something you and your family love.
Adding whole grain to shakes and smoothies
Oats are one of the best grains to use in your smoothie, as they have a mild flavor that goes well with other ingredients. You can either use plain organic oats or cooked, cooled oatmeal. Around a fourth of a regular portion should be sufficient. You could also use cooked barley or whole wheat flour. With barley, you need to prepare and cool it before blending around a third of a cup into your smoothie. If you want to use whole wheat flour, you can just add tablespoon to your smoothie mix. While oats and barley are mild, but quite filling, whole wheat flour will add a nutty flavor to your smoothie and also serve as a thickening agent. Spelt flakes, amaranth or quinoa could also be added. As a treat, you could even sprinkle on some home-made granola.
As you can add pretty much anything to a smoothie, it can be hard to know where to start. Think about the flavors you like and the combinations you like the sound of, then go ahead and start experimenting! One idea is an oat, date and banana smoothie. Simply blend oats, a banana and stoned dates with some natural yogurt, organic whey protein and skim milk. Adjust the quantities to suit your taste. Alternatively, try a blend of strawberries, kiwi and banana. Add one-third of a cup of fresh orange juice and the same of natural yogurt, along with a tablespoon or two of whole grains. You could also try a selection of mixed berries, peaches, plums or any seasonal fruit you like. Use honey or orange juice to sweeten, and skim milk, almond milk and natural yogurt to vary the consistency. Then add your whole grains and, if you’d like, organic whey protein for a thicker, more filling smoothie, and blend until smooth.
Savory shakes and smoothies
If you don’t have a sweet tooth, you can always turn your smoothie savory. Combining fresh organic vegetables and herbs, such as broccoli, cucumber, celery, and parsley, can make a wonderful morning drink. Tomatoes, beets and carrots can also be great additions to a vegetable smoothie, as well as providing natural sweetness. Select three vegetables and blend with water and your whole grains. You could also add in some fruit, such as fresh orange juice and apple, if you want to sweeten it further. The advantage of adding whole grains is that they increase satiety and vary the texture so you feel fuller for longer; ideal if you’re looking to lose weight.
Keep it natural to maximize your health benefits
To maximize the benefits of your smoothie, make sure you add as much organic goodness as possible. While you may be tempted to throw in things that contain extra, unnecessary sugars or fats, there’s really no need. The great thing about smoothies is that you control what goes in them and, fortunately, nature has provided plenty of options to add sweetness and flavor, so you can blend away and enjoy nature’s goodness, knowing you’ve also boosted your diet with an extra spoonful or two of whole grains.