Go With the Grain

Jan 1, 2006
Outside Magazine

Despite years of carbohydrate bashing in the diet industry, most athletes still know the value of a good bowl of brown rice. And the newest U.S. Dietary Guidelines, which call for a minimum of three ounces of whole grains daily, back them up. Besides supplying premium muscle fuel, whole grains (seeds intact) deliver vitamins, minerals, and fiber. But if your knowledge begins and ends with wheat, things can get dull pretty quickly. Luckily, whole-grain hunting has gotten easier, with many less traditional varieties now more widely available, including high-protein amaranth and quinoa and antioxidant-rich buckwheat. And don't forget oatmeal, the perfect winter breakfast. (Go for steel-cut varieties that preserve the entire kernel.) Preparation just takes water, heat, and seasoning.
—onique Ryan


1 cup quinoa
2 1/2 cups water
6 dried apricots, chopped
2 tbsp raisins
3 small scallions, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced

2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander

Rinse quinoa before cooking to prevent a bitter taste. Add to boiling water and stir. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes. Drain and mix with apricots, raisins, scallions, and celery. Add dressing while quinoa is still warm. Serve hot or cold. Makes six servings.


1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

Sauté onions and mushrooms in olive oil until tender. Stir in barley and heat. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 40–45 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork before serving. Makes six servings.


1 cup bulgur
2 1/2 cups water
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 cups chickpeas, drained
1 cup grated or chopped carrots
2 tbsp olive oil
Pepper to taste

Add bulgur to water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 10–15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients. Serve hot or cold. Makes six servings.

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