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The 12 Healthiest Whole Grains To Eat, According To Nutritionists

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Vegan bulgur salad in bowl

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I’m just going to say it: Sometimes whole-wheat options just don’t taste as good as the real thing (I’m looking at you, whole-wheat spaghetti!).

If sad, cardboard-imitating pasta just doesn’t do it for ya, rest assured that whole grains go way, way beyond wheat.

“Basically, a whole grain is any grain that contains all three of its original parts—the bran, endosperm, and germ,” says Jill Merkel, RD, a sports performance and wellness dietitian at Nutrition for Endurance. That means outside-of-the-box grains like teff, buckwheat, and rye totally qualify.

Of course, just make sure any whole-grain product (like bread, pasta, and crackers) list the actual words “whole grain” in the ingredient lists, since marketing lingo like “made with whole grain” or “multi-grain” doesn’t actually mean much.

It’s worth your time, because whole grains are insanely good for you. They protect your heart, reduce your cancer risk, can help you lose weight, ward off type 2 diabetes, and keep you full. “Whole grains provide carbs, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats,” says Merkel. (Choose the right grain and you can even score upwards of eight grams of protein per cup.)

These nutritionist-approved whole-grains foods will help you bust out of your pasta rut.

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1

Amaranth

Amaranth is high in protein and fat, and also higher in calories than a lot of other whole grains. That said, it has “massive” amounts of manganese, magnesium, iron, selenium, and copper, says Keatley. (It may even help ward off inflammation.)

Try it as a pasta substitute or to make soups thicker and more hearty.

Per 1-cup serving (cooked): 250 calories, 4 g fat (0 g sat fat), 46 g carbs, 15 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 9 g protein

2

Teff

Another whole grain that’s a little higher in calories, teff is great for highly-active people, says Keatley. “It also has more calcium than the other grains and hits hard with fiber,” he adds.

Swap boiled teff in for oatmeal or use teff flour in baked goods.

Per 1-cup serving (cooked): 255 calories, 2 g fat (0 g sat fat), 50 g carbs, 20 mg sodium, 7 g fiber, 10 g protein

3

Rye

As long as you can tolerate gluten, rye is a good grain option, says Sonya Angelone, RD, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Rich in polyphenols (micronutrients packed with antioxidants), rye can help with weight management, digestion, metabolic health, and heart health, says Beth Warren, RD, dietitian and author of Secrets of a Kosher Girl.

Try out rye bread on your sandwiches for a yummy whole-grain twist.

Per 1-ounce serving (rye bread): 73 calories, 1 g fat (0 g sat fat), 14 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 171 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein

4

Bulgur

Famous for its role in a Middle Eastern salad dish called tabbouleh, bulgur is a gluten-containing wheat grain, says Angelone.

Like other whole forms of wheat, this grain does your heart and digestive health a solid.

Add bulgur to your diet by making your own tabbouleh, with parsley, tomatoes, mint, onions, and your favorite seasonings.

Per 1-cup serving (tabbouleh): 197 calories, 15 g fat (0 g sat fat), 15 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 797 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein

5

Brown Rice

Switching from white to brown rice is an effortless way to sneak in more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, it certainly doesn’t hurt that brown rice is super inexpensive.

Prepare a batch at the beginning of the week and pair it with lean protein and a variety of sautéed veggies.

Per 1-cup serving (cooked): 248 calories, 2 g fat (0 g sat fat), 52 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 8 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 6 g protein

6

Quinoa

Merkel says the trendy whole grain (which is technically a seed, but apparently still counts) is even higher in protein than brown rice, so it gives you more nutritional bang for your buck. This makes it an especially great choice for vegetarians.

Per 1-cup serving (cooked): 222 calories, 4 g fat (0 g sat fat), 39 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 13 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 8 g protein

7

Buckwheat

Like quinoa? Buckwheat is actually pretty similar, says Scott Keatley, RD, of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy. This heart-healthy whole grain provides a decent amount of protein, fiber, magnesium, calcium, and multiple B vitamins.

Another cool perk: It’s gluten-free.

Use buckwheat as an oatmeal replacement, or buckwheat flour to make fruit- and chocolate-filled muffins, Keatley suggests.

Per 1-cup serving (cooked): 155 calories, 1 g fat (0 g sat fat), 33 g carbs, 1.5 g sugar, 7 mg sodium, 4.5 g fiber, 6 g protein

8

Millet

Millet is another gluten-free grain worth adding to your rotation.

High in the essential nutrient copper, it also isn’t too shabby in the magnesium and fiber departments, Keatley says.

Try using millet as a swap-in for oatmeal or rice.

Per 1-cup serving (cooked): 207 calories, 2 g fat (0 g sat fat), 41 g carbs, 0.2 g sugar, 3 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 6 g protein

9

Wild Rice

Another must-have to add to your healthy, gluten-free whole grains list: wild rice.

According to Warren, wild rice “helps regulate digestion, stimulates growth and repair in the body, strengthens bones, boosts the immune system, and helps with weight maintenance.”

Serve it up as a side dish or mix it with veggies for a yummy stir fry.

Per 1-cup serving (cooked): 166 calories, 0.5 g fat (0 g sat fat), 35 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 5 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 7 g protein

10

Oats

Oats are a great source of fiber, so they keep you full for a longer period of time than many grains, according to Merkel.

Try steel-cut oats in the morning to power you through until lunch (but be careful not to sabotage their benefits with an overabundance of sugar-laden toppings like dried fruit and maple syrup).

Per 1-cup serving (uncooked): 307 calories, 5 g fat (1 g sat fat), 55 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 5 mg sodium, 8 g fiber, 11 g protein

11

Barley

Thanks to its hearty and nutty flavor, barley is the perfect addition to soups, vegetable skillet dishes, or any type of dish that normally requires rice or grains.

Merkel typically uses pearled barley, which doesn’t require soaking prior to cooking.

Per 1-cup serving (cooked): 193 calories, 1 g fat (0 g sat fat), 44 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 5 mg sodium, 6 g fiber, 4 g protein

12

Farro

Given its high protein and fiber content relative to other whole grains, Merkel cites farro as a super satisfying option.

Since it takes your body longer to break down and digest both farro’s protein and fiber, it’s also a good one for sustained energy.

Per 1 cup serving (cooked): 200 calories, 1 g fat (0 g sat fat), 44 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 20 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 5 g protein

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Nutrition

The 9 Best Spiralizers For Making Zoodles In 2020, According To Test Kitchen Reviews

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Since zoodles made spiralized vegetables a thing a few years back, pretty much every vegetable under the sun has found itself in noodle form at some point. (Even beets…)

And, frankly, veggie noodles are kind of the bomb. “Spiralized vegetables fit into many diet styles including keto, paleo, gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian,” says dietitian Jenna Appel, RD. “They instantly boost your fiber, vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant intakes, while lowering carbs and calories (since they often replace processed carbs like pasta.”

For that reason, incorporating more spiralized vegetables into your eats can help you feel more satiated while cutting down on calories so you can either lose or better maintain your weight, according to Appel.

Of course, to sneak extra veggies into your diet and make your meals look so much prettier, you need to get yourself a spiralizer. Once you have one handy, you can hit the produce aisle and go to town.

“Veggies like zucchini, carrots, beets, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes all spiralize well, but what many people don’t realize is that you can also spiralize fruits, like apples, pears, and melons,” says Appel. (She likes using her spiralizer to make pesto zucchini noodles with chicken or cozy sweet potato noodles with meatballs.)

But which spiralizers will turn your veggies into true noodles—and not just stringy piles of mush? Since there are an overwhelming number of options on Amazon, the Women’s Health Test Kitchen tried out a ton of veggie spiralizers to narrow down the best of the best.

Here are nine of the best spiralizers out there, from the hand-helds to the electric-powered.

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Nutrition

The 10 Best Edible Flowers To Decorate Your Food, According To A Nutritionist

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Not long ago, edible flowers were reserved for fancy bakeries and Michelin-starred restaurants. And then Instagram happened. Fun as decorating your smoothie bowls and other eats with edible flowers may be, though, it’s not a total free-for-all. (No, you can’t just turn any old bouquet into a salad.)

“The term, ‘edible’ simply indicates that the flower was grown in a food-safe way, meaning it wasn’t treated with unsafe pesticides or preservatives,” explains Todd Seyfarth, RD, dietitian, chef, chair of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Johnson & Wales University. “It also means that the flower doesn’t naturally contain any compounds we’ve identified as dangerous or toxic.”

Not all edible flowers are actually worth eating, though. “Often, plants with vivid and deep colors are bitter on the palate, so [appreciation for their taste] will vary from person to person,” says Seyfarth. If you’re not a fan of bitter flavor, you’ll probably want to remove those deep-hued petals from your food after snapping a pic for the ‘gram.

That said, deeply-colored flowers are often the most nutrient-rich (like all edible plants, edible flowers contain important vitamins and minerals). “The more colorful the plant and deeper the flavor, the more antioxidant power the plant usually has,” Seyfarth says.

If you’re intrigued by flowering up your food, make sure to only purchase flowers marked as edible. “They are harder to find, but gourmet grocers usually have them,” says Seyfarth.

From there, you’ll want to prep your flowers a little differently than other fruits and vegetables. “Most flowers are very delicate and will be damaged by rough washing,” says Seyfarth, who recommends dipping edible flowers into a bowl of clean water and carefully hand-drying them.

Add some flower power to your next meal with one of the following 10 popular edible petals.

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Nutrition

The 8 Best Non-Dairy Coffee Creamers That Taste As Good As Half-And-Half

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Dairy-Free Creamers

Jason Speakman

Not long ago, if you wanted to keep your morning coffee plant-based, you were stuck with a rather lame splash of soy or almond milk. Thanks to all sorts of new non-dairy creamers hitting store shelves, though, you can now make your java super creamy and dreamy—without using anything that comes from a cow.

“Many people are moving away from cow’s milk and toward non-dairy milks, like almond and rice, for health and environmental reasons,” says meatless dietitian Kristine Duncan, RDN. And now that plant-based milks and yogurts have gone mainstream, non-dairy creamers are a natural next step.

In addition to being more sustainable and easier on your stomach (I feel you, lactose intolerant peeps), non-dairy creamers are often lower in calories and boast better nutrition than your usual salted caramel half-and-half.

“Many people who add cream and sugar to their coffee don’t consider the additional calories,” Duncan says. Just one tablespoon of heavy cream contains about 50 calories, and many popular creamers contain upwards of five grams of sugar (not to mention artificial ingredients) per serving.

Non-dairy options, meanwhile, often contain less than 10 calories and little sugar per serving, says Duncan. They’re typically lower in saturated fat, too.

To make sure your dairy-free creamer is quality, make sure the first ingredients on its ingredient list aren’t sugar or oil, Duncan recommends. (If you plan to add your own sugar, opt for a creamer that’s completely unsweetened.)

Ready to mix up your morning cup of Joe? These eight nutritionist-approved non-dairy creamers are everything you’ve wanted and more.

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1

Nut Pods Original Unsweetened Oat Creamer

nutpods.com

Made with just oat milk, vegetable oils, and thickeners, this creamer keeps it simple. Though oat milk isn’t anything fancy, its natural sweetness and creamy texture have made it one of the most popular dairy-free coffee-enhancers out there right now, Duncan says. Nut Pods’ unsweetened option is a good one. 

Per tbsp: 10 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein

2

Califia Farms Original Better Half Coconut Cream & Almondmilk Creamer

califiafarms.com

This cleverly-named half-and-half from Califia Farms is made with almond milk and coconut cream for sweet flavor and thick, creamy texture. Since it’s fortified with calcium, you’ll also score a small amount of the bone-building mineral that dairy usually boasts about.

Per tbsp: 10 calories, 1 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 0.5 g carbs, 0.5 g sugar, 15 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein

3

Vital Proteins Vanilla Collagen Creamer

vitalproteins.com

Some people find that adding collagen to their coffee really ups the froth factor (especially when blended). Made with collagen protein from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows and coconut milk powder, this creamer is a little higher in calories, but can add staying power to your morning sips.

Bonus: It’s Whole30-approved. 

Per tbsp: 70 calories, 4.5 g fat (4.5 g saturated), 2 g carbs, 0.5 g sugar, 28 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 5 g protein

4

Nutiva Organic MCT Creamer

nutiva.com

If you’re all about the Bulletproof coffee or keto life, this fat-fueled creamer is for you, Duncan suggests. It’s made from organic coconut oil, coconut milk powder, and coconut sugar. (Hope you like the taste of coconut.)  

Per tbsp: 40 calories, 3 g fat (3 g saturated), 1 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 0 g protein

5

New Barn Barista Almondmilk Creamer

newbarnorganics.com

This almond milk is richer and creamier than most options, and contains a little cane sugar for just the sweetness your java needs.

“It may be sweetened, but it has a very simple ingredient list,” says Duncan. “Plus, it’s slightly lower in calories than the others.”

Per tbsp: 8 calories, 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated), 1 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 3 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein

6

Silk Original Dairy-Free Soy Creamer

silk.com

Since Silk is such a mainstream brand, this dairy-free creamer is probably one of the easiest to find. It’s made with soy milk, sugar, oil, and thickeners, so it feels a little more indulgent than some of the other options, says Duncan.

Per tbsp: 20 calories, 1.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 2 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein

7

So Delicious Organic Dairy-Free Coconutmilk Creamer

sodeliciousdairyfree.com

Made with basically just coconut cream and water, this unsweetened creamer has big, sweet coconut flavor, says Duncan. You won’t even miss the sugar. 

Per tbsp: 15 calories, 1 g fat (1 g saturated), 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 10 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein

8

Ripple Original Plant-Based Half & Half

ripplefoods.com

If you’re looking for an alternative to nut milk-based creamers, try this one, suggests Duncan. It’s made with just pea protein, oil, water, and thickeners. Though not the lowest-calorie option of the bunch, it contains zero grams of saturated fat—a plus for those watching their intake.

Per tbsp: 18 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 30 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein

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