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Pop Goes the Whole Grains

By Sara Butler

Nearly everyone knows about popcorn, but did you know corn isn't the only whole grain that can be popped? It's true! There's a whole world of popping grains out there for you and your palate to explore. Here are a few whole grains you may want to try your hand at popping for a delicious and nutritious snack.

Amaranth

Full of iron, calcium, and phosphorus, amaranth is the only grain that contains Vitamin C. The mild flavor of amaranth makes it really versatile and it's popular in the popped Mexican treat called alegria.

These teeny seeds should be popped over medium heat in a saucepan. When the pan is hot, add one tablespoon of amaranth and slap on a lid that allows some of the steam to vent. Shake the pan to move the amaranth around and once you hear the popping slow down, take the amaranth out of the pan so it doesn't burn. It's not recommended to pop in the microwave.

Sorghum

Sorghum looks like smaller kernels of popcorn when popped and has about 4 grams of fiber per cup popped. Sorghum also happens to be a great source of magnesium, which is a nutrient at least half of Americans are deficient in, according to the National Institutes of Health.

You can pop sorghum on the stove top or in the microwave. If you want to use the stove top, then simply heat a saucepan over medium heat. Once it's hot, throw in about a one-quarter cup of sorghum. Cover the pan so it doesn't fly everywhere but leave some room for steam to escape as you shake the pan back and forth a bit. Listen closely and remove from the heat once the popping slows down and pour it into the bowl.

If you want to try out the microwave, simply put one-quarter cup of sorghum in a paper bag that's safe for food. Fold the end of the bag two times and place it in the microwave folded side down. Set your microwave to high for about 90 seconds and listen for slowed popping to ensure it doesn't burn.

Wild Rice

Wild rice doesn't so much pop as it does puff. It has a nutty, crunchy flavor that makes a great replacement for nuts as a snack or as an addition to salads and soups. One cup of puffed wild rice is a great way to add more zinc and fiber to your diet.

Don't use the microwave to puff wild rice. Instead, heat a saucepan over medium heat and add one tablespoon of rice when it's hot enough. You don't have to cover it because it doesn't pop, but you should constantly stir it until it's done puffing, which you'll know it's done because it splits open.

Branch out to discover other snack alternatives that are good for you too!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Sandy, Utah.

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