Get Sprouted

I have long been a fan of sprouted grains – specifically, sprouted grain bread. My absolute favorites are Trader Joe’s Sprouted 7-Grain and Whole Wheat breads (bags with purple and yellow design, respectively): 60 calories, 5 grams of protein, 7 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber, all for one slice. That’s half the calories and carbs and double the protein and fiber of most slices of bread. Plus a delicious, almost cheesy taste. Sold!

Seriously this bread is great for everyone, but especially beneficial for diabetics (lower in carbs), those high blood pressure, cholesterol or heart disease (whole grains/fiber), those trying to lose weight (lower in calories) or athletes (protein). So, like I said, this bread is great for everyone.

Check out the nutrition facts/ingredient list (see caption for easier-to-read ingredient list):

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Ingredients: sprouted wheat grains, oats, rye, barley, corn, rice, millet, wheat flour, water, honey, vital wheat gluten, yeast, molasses, salt.

While I am clearly a big fan of sprouted grain bread, a recent discovery of “Sprouted Chick Pea Spread” from Tiny Greens at the Green City Market got me thinking about sprouted foods in general. The spread is similar to hummus but much thicker and with an almost whole-grainy taste (very technical term):

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Sprouted hummus from Tiny Greens Organic (Urbana, IL)

So what are the benefits of sprouted foods over regular, non-sprouted foods??

Well, sprouting is essentially allowing a seed (such as wheat) to germinate (i.e. sprout) rather than processing it before it reaches that point. Technology has made it easier for companies to sprout foods in large batches under controlled conditions (the proper amount of light, moisture and time), rather than letting it sprout in a haphazard manner out in the fields. Hence, we are starting to see many more sprouted foods at our grocery stores and farmers’ markets.

Sprouting breaks down some of the grain’s starch, making it easier to digest (great for those who may not do so well with high-fiber foods). Sprouting may also make certain nutrients, like protein, B vitamins, vitamin C, folate and fiber, more readily available. That means that your body can better absorb the vitamins and minerals and that sprouted foods have a higher nutrient content than non-sprouted varieties.

All of these are pluses in my book. Like I said earlier, I love, love, love Trader Joe’s sprouted grain breads, but Food for Life has an entire line of sprouted grain products (English muffins, buns, tortillas and a variety of breads including cinnamon raisin and low sodium). You can generally find a good variety of sprouted grain products at Whole Foods as well. And check out your local farmer’s market, which is where I found the sprouted hummus (Tiny Greens Organic). Tiny Greens also had a great sprouted grain tortilla. If you don’t find sprouted grains at the farmer’s market, you will surely find loads of other great, local, in-season foods.

For more information about sprouting, check out the Whole Grains Council website.

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