Make great grains your main ingredient to help keep healthy resolutions

Start the New Year off right by making sure your kitchen is stocked with basic ingredients for a complete meal.

That means seasonal produce and things to keep in your pantry like great grains, beans and legumes, spices and other dried products.

Inexpensive beans and legumes are complex carbohydrates that come with a lot of fiber and protein. A half cup serving is all that's needed.

Then there's grains.

Local chef Glenda Galvan-Garcia loves the idea of making a grain, like quinoa, the main focus of a meal.

"Quinoa eats like a grain but it's actually a seed," said Galvan-Garcia.

She suggests using quinoa instead of oatmeal for breakfast.

At Granville in West Hollywood, a featured dish is poblano quinoa. She recommends rinsing quinoa then toasting it, then cooking it thoroughly.

"You definitely want to cook it long enough where that little curl on the outside sprouts," said Galvan-Garcia.

Then add all kinds of veggies, herbs and spices to make a full meal. Another of her favorites is Israeli couscous.

It's actually a pasta, but it's another way to get complex carbs on the table. She completes the dish with toasted nuts and currants to offer a variation in taste and texture but there's so many options.

So you might've tried quinoa - maybe even Israeli couscous, but give farro a try. It's packed with vitamins and minerals and loaded with protein.

"The farro that we serve here has fifteen grams of protein per serving," said Galvan-Garcia.

Galvan-Garcia serves farro as risotto with marinated tempeh.

So stock your pantry with variety - each grain offers a different taste and texture profile.

Once you add your favorite spices, sautéed veggies, stock and veggie oils, you'll be able to create a variety of dishes that give your body the nutrients, fiber and satisfaction it's craving.
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