The whole deal

We all know we should be eating whole grains, but how and which ones? I asked Clare Bonsall, family-education coordinator at the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, for tips:

1. “My first thought is quinoa. It has more protein and calcium than milk, it’s a really high-powered grain to feed your family, and it’s also very quick-cooking—it takes 15 minutes. Always have a container of quinoa in your fridge to add to salads and soups. I sent my daughter to school today with a salad with quinoa in it, for the protein.”

2. “Amaranth is a near relative and has all of the same nutritive qualities as quinoa. It’s a little more daunting to cook because it’s so tiny. Everything I’ve read talks about using amaranth as an added benefit—add it to stews to boost the protein.”

3. “Another high-nutrient grain I really enjoy is barley—not pearled but whole. It’s good for the digestion and liver; it can lower blood cholesterol, and prevent heart disease. And it tastes really good! If you want to speed up the cooking time, you can soak whole grains. You can also cook grains and have them on hand in your fridge.”