freekej grains


Grains are an important part of a healthy diet.聽 The USDA’s MyPlate guidelines recommend that at least half of your daily intake of grains come from whole grains.聽 So, what is a whole grain and why are they important? At HFA’s Symposium 2012, three whole grains were introduced to the attendees.聽 These grains included: 聽farro, freekeh and quinoa.聽 聽Let’s take a closer look at these grains and learn ways to incorporate them into our daily meal plans.

What is a whole grain?聽Grains are聽considered whole when all three parts – bran, germ & endosperm – are present.聽 Whole grains are a good source of B vitamins, Vitamin-E, magnesium, iron and fiber, as well as other valuable antioxidants not found in some fruits and vegetables. Most of the antioxidants and vitamins are found in the germ and the bran.

Why are they important?聽 They can reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing cholesterol levels and聽blood pressure.聽 They have also been found to reduce the risks of many types of cancer and may help regulate blood glucose in people living with diabetes.聽 Other studies have also shown that people who consume more “whole” products consistently weigh less than those who consumed less.

Common types:聽 wild rice, brown rice, whole wheat, oatmeal, barley, whole rye, bulgar, popcorn

Less common types:聽 amaranth, millet, quinoa, sorghum, triticale, farro, freekeh

Check LabelsCarefully!

  • Foods labeled with the words “multi-grain,” “stone-ground,” “100% wheat,” “cracked wheat,” “seven-grain,” or “bran” are usually not whole-grain products.
  • Color is also not an indication of the variety. Brown does not necessarily mean whole wheat or whole anything. Some brown bread has brown coloring added to achieve the brown color!
  • When determining if a packaged food product contains whole grain or not, look for the word “whole” in the ingredient list.


Farro:聽 Made from “emmer” wheat, one of the earliest domesticated crops. 聽Known as “spelt” in North America.聽 An important benefit is that some gluten-sensitive people have been able to include spelt-based foods in their diets.聽 聽It is increasing popularity on menus at top restaurants, onTVcooking shows and in popularmagazines.

Cooking Characteristics:

  • Ready to eat in 15 to 20 minutes.
  • 聽Easy to reheat
  • 聽Use in place of barley and other grains for soups, salads and stuffing’s.
  • 聽Use in place of rice for a no-fuss risotto.
  • 聽Hearty texture and nutty taste.

聽Health Benefits:

鈭 Rich in fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C and E.

鈭欻igher in protein than barley and rice.

鈭歀ower gluten makes it a better choice for those with sensitivities.

鈭欵asily digested.

鈭歅art of a healthy Mediterranean diet.


Freekeh:聽 Freekeh聽(pronounced free-ka)聽is a new super food and ingredient. It is ‘roasted green grains.’ Freekeh is a process and not the name of a grain variety. Freekeh is 100% natural! The grains are harvested while still soft, young and green, then parched, roasted and dried. 聽The process captures and more importantly retains the grains at the state of peak taste and nutrition. Green grains are very different in properties to mature grains. The entire process is natural and only uses fire and air. No additives or preservatives are used.

The use of freekeh in recipes is endless.聽聽From a side dish like rice or pasta, to soups and salads.聽 And, it is simple to cook and
use.聽Both cracked and whole grain freekeh聽is cooked just like rice on the stove, in the microwave or in a rice cooker.聽Cooked Freekeh will stay in your refrigerator for up to 8 days.

Health Benefits:

鈭歀ow in聽carbohydrates, high in fiber (up to fourtimes the fiber of brown rice)

鈭 Acts as a prebiotic, fueling the growth of healthy bacteria in our digestive tract.

鈭歀ow GI food with excellent insulin response. Good for preventing and managing diabetes.

鈭 Rich in lutein and zeaxathin – important phytonutrients for eye health and implicated in the prevention of age-related macular聽degeneration.

鈭 Increases concentration and excretion ofbutyrate which is associated with diminishing the risk of developing colorectal cancer and diverticulitis.

鈭 Good for general bowel health. Beneficial for preventing constipation and managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome.


Quinoa:聽 Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is a seed, not a grain and it’s grown high in the Andes Mountains of South America. Here in the U.S., quinoa has been discovered as a nutritious asset and enjoyed culinary popularity within only the last few years.聽 Quinoa cooks very easily, in about 15 minutes. Like cooking rice in a stove top pot.

Health Benefits:

鈭歅acked with protein

鈭歊ich source of fiber

鈭欻igh in vitamins and minerals including: vitamin B, calcium, magnesium, iron and all 8 amino acids.

鈭欳ontains no gluten or wheat. Great for individuals with gluten sensitivities and/or wheat allergies.

Vegetarians would do well to incorporate quinoa into their diet often. It’s difficult for vegetarians to get all eight essential amino acids and an adequate source of protein from one food source. Usually, vegetarians and vegans need to combine foods like beans and rice to acquire all the essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein.


To find out just how easy it is to incorporate these whole grains into your menu, visit /news-stories/nutrition-news/ to find three (3) easy-to-make recipes your family is sure to enjoy!

**Enter the “Dishing It Out” Raffle by simply preparing your favorite ‘Whole Grain’ recipe and forwarding a picture of you and the prepared dish to HFA.聽 See /news-stories/2012/05/super-grain-raffle/ for details.






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