By: Sharon Heer
For many Sikhs around the world, Vaisakhi is a celebration of the winter harvest festival and the start of a new year. During this time, many people in the community visit the Gurudwara, do Seva, and show gratitude for their blessings. Wheat is celebrated in this festival along with cereals like oats and barley, some fruits and vegetables, legumes, and seed plants.
Did you know there are healthy and less healthy grains and flours?
Whole grains have many health benefits and should be eaten most often in our diet. Whole grain products include whole oats, brown rice and wild rice, quinoa, corn, and products made with whole grains such as 100% whole grain bread, pasta, and roti/chapatti. Deep frying grains such as pakora, bread pakora, and samosa tend to be high in fat and salt, and should be limited. Read on for more information about whole grains.
Research shows that eating whole grains has been linked to a lower risk of chronic disease like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. You get the most health benefits from eating whole grains because they are high in fibre. White flours are less healthy as they contain less fibre. Whole grains are also high in many vitamins and minerals while being naturally low in salt, sugar, and fat. Whole grains have a good source of vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, iron, and folate.Try eating whole grains every day to get the most benefits.
Here are some ideas for including more whole grains into your diet:
- Choose whole grain cold cereals. Read the ingredient list sentence. Make sure there is at least 5 grams of fibre in 1 cup of cereal.
- Go for hot cereals like steel cut oats, quick cooking steel cut oats or rolled oats. Avoid prepackaged oats loaded with sugar. Instead make your own with cinnamon, ground flaxseed, and top with fresh or frozen berries.
- Switch to whole grain bread, sprouted bread, chapatti, roti, and whole wheat naan, and pair with dahl or curries.
- Try Greek yogurt layered with fresh, frozen, or canned fruit and topped with whole grain cereal or granola.
- Pair whole grain crackers with slices of hardboiled eggs and baby carrots on the side. For a vegetarian option, try whole grain crackers with peanut butter, seed butter, or hummus spread.
- Cook whole grain brown rice mixed with a wild blend instead of white rice. Top with a tofu veggie stir fry.
Try including whole grains into your diet in moderation without adding salt and sugar, or deep frying to get the most health benefits. For more information about the South Asian Health Institute and recipes, visit www.fraserhealth.ca/SAHI.
Sharon Heer is a Registered Dietitian for Sehat Program at Fraser Health