Thursday, March 26, 2020

When is a grain not a grain? When it's a pseudo-grain...

Pseudo-grains, or pseudo-cereals as they're also known, have increasingly been enjoying the limelight as our awareness of grains expands beyond wheat, oats and barley and new grain varieties become more and more popular. 

So what is a pseudo-grain?
Pseudo-grains like quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat are actually seeds and just like regular grains have similar overall nutrient compositions, being a great source of protein, fibre and minerals. This group of 'grains' also has the benefit of being gluten free for those who need to avoid gluten.

How do I use them?
Pseudo-grains are used in very similar ways to 'true' grains and are becoming more accessible in foods like breads, cereals and snacks, as well as in their whole form. To mix up your grains, try using pseudo-grains anywhere you would normally use a 'true' grain, think buckwheat groats in risotto, quinoa flour in home baking and amaranth mixed in porridge. Why not try our Lemon & Olive Quinoa Dolmades, Buckwheat, Kale & Chicken Soup and Adam Liaw's Whole Grain Rice Mix.

Are pseudo-grains better for me?
In short, neither variety is any better for us with all types of grain showcasing a great nutrient profile. Whichever grains you enjoy though, it's important to choose mostly whole grain to benefit from more than 26 nutrients and phytonutrients and to try and eat a range of different whole grains to boost the variety of nutrients you're consuming!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

It's Time to Love Your Legumes Australia

Many of us have a bag or tin of dried beans sitting at the back of the cupboard and it can be difficult to know what to do with them. But thanks to a wave of plant-based trends, coupled with the International Year of Pulses in 2016, the humble pulse, or legumes as they're more commonly known, are now increasingly being seen for the nutritional powerhouses that they truly are. With pulses on the brain, we've been looking at the health benefits they provide and new ways in which to incorporate them into our diet!

But first, what actually is a pulse?

Pulses belong to the wider legume family, which is a group of plants whose fruit or seed is enclosed in a pod. Pulses refer specifically to the dried, mature seeds of these plants and include dry peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas. The term ‘legume’ includes these dry varieties, as well as fresh peas and beans and is a more commonly used term than pulses.

Many people are most familiar with legumes in the form of the much-loved baked bean, but there are hundreds of varieties of legume out there - some of the most familiar including chickpeas, lentilspeas and beans - like butter beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans and soybeans.

Legumes and pulses come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours and can be eaten in many forms including whole, split, ground into flour, dried, canned, cooked or frozen.

Why are they so good for me?

Legumes are packed with a whole range of essential nutrients, they are...
  • An economical source of plant-based protein.
  • Higher in protein than most other plant foods.
  • Generally low in fat, and virtually free of saturated fats.
  • Rich in energy-giving carbohydrates, with a low glycaemic index to help maintain blood glucose control.
  • A good source of B-group vitamins including folate, plus iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium.
  • Abundant in fibre, including both insoluble and soluble fibre, plus resistant starch - all essential for maintaining good gut health!

There are many studies which show that legumes offer significant health benefits including protection against chronic diseases, assisting with weight management and helping to maintain good gut health.

How much should I be eating?

Pulses like chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans are full of nutrients, inexpensive and important for health and well-being. We recommend aiming for 100g or ½ cup of pulses at least three times a week to maintain good health.

 Download your copy of our latest e-book here for exclusive legume recipes and tips!

So how do I add more legumes into my diet?

  Enjoying legumes as part of a healthy habit is easier than you might think...
·        Use hummus instead of mayonnaise in a sandwich
·        Substitute a mix of kidney beans or red lentils for half the mince in a spaghetti bolognaise or chilli
·        Mix in a handful of black beans or lentils when cooking scrambled eggs
·        Try whizzing a handful of cannellini beans into a fruit smoothie 
·        Use mashed cooked brown lentils in a nutty bliss ball mix

Why not try something new with these legumes…

Chickpeas offer a creamy texture and mild taste and make a great base for soaking up flavours.

Try something new with chickpeas: why not mix up your hummus with additions like sundried tomatoes, beetroot, feta or cooked sweet potato or why not try the latest foodie trend, sweet hummus!

Black beans have a delicious meaty texture and make a great addition to burgers or as a mince substitute in chilli.

Try something new with black beans: use them to add a fudgy texture to brownies or showcase them as the star in your next veggie burger.

Download our latest e-book here to get a delicious brownie recipe where you can use lentils or black beans!

Lupins are slowly making their mark in the world of legumes due to their incredible versatility - they can be eaten fresh, or use lupin flour, flakes and kibble to add extra protein and fibre when baking.

Try something new with lupins: use a mix of lupin flakes and oats for a nutritious homemade muesli or use lupin flour to make these delicious Blueberry and Vanilla Muffins.

Top tips for prepping and storing your legumes

·        Cooking dried legumes (or pulses) in large batches is easy and cost-effective - simply freeze individual portions of cooked legumes for up to three months for ready-to-use convenience.
·        When using canned legumes, rinse contents thoroughly to reduce sodium content by more than 40%.
·        Soaking dried legumes for an hour or two, or overnight if you have time, ensures that they're easier to digest and maximises nutrient bio-availability. Split peas and lentils don't need to be soaked.
·        Store cooked, cooled legumes in an airtight container in the fridge for no more than 3 days - this applies whether they're from a can or cooked at home.

With so many varieties to choose from, there are many reasons to love your legumes - their health benefits, versatility and abundance of nutrients being just a few. But however you choose to eat them, know that whenever you do you’re making a significant contribution to your health.

Visit the GLNC website for more information on the nutrition benefits of legumes, handy tips and recipe inspiration or download your copy of our latest e-book here for exclusive recipes and tips!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

How to create a balanced sandwich in four easy steps!

It’s that time of year again when the kids are headed back to school, you're off to work and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the thought of so many lunches to prepare. We’ve got your back this new school year - creating a nutritionally balanced lunchbox doesn’t have to be so stressful. Take a step in the right direction by making your kids - and yourself - a wholesome sandwich!   

Did you know bread contains vital nutrients such as fibre, B-group vitamins, folate, thiamine, zinc, vitamin E and antioxidants? So it’s the perfect vehicle for creating a nutritious, portable lunch.

If you’re lacking inspiration when it comes to packing school lunches, simply follow our 4 easy steps to creating the ultimate portable lunch…

1.     Choose your base - a well-constructed sandwich relies on a substantial base! Whatever you choose to build your sandwich on - sliced bread, wraps or rolls - we recommend choosing whole grain, wholemeal or high fibre varieties where possible. Whole grain and high fibre foods can reduce our risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

If you have a picky eater on your hands try using one slice white and one slice wholemeal bread or use a high fibre white bread!   

2.     Add flavour - use your favourite spread like vegemite, hummus or avocado to add a pop of flavour, colour and nutrients. Mix things up and try this bright beetroot hummus.

3.     Add your veggies - use a handful of salad or any other raw or cooked vegetables you have at home. Don’t look past last night’s leftover roast pumpkin or zucchini!

4.     Finally, choose your protein power - quick and easy sources of protein like cheese, tuna, boiled egg, crushed beans or leftover poached chicken are great for sandwiches.

Getting the kids involved...
Now that you’re ready to get creative, why not get the kids to help? A great way to get younger kids involved and make lunchboxes fun is by cutting sandwiches into shapes using cookie cutters. Or get them to roll wraps in foil to make it easier for them to eat.

Encourage your kids to get involved in lunchbox choices too - asking them to choose their fruit and veggies will help to reduce uneaten food at the end of the day.

Top tips for avoiding soggy sandwiches
·       Very lightly toast bread, just 1-2 minutes 
·       Make sure lettuce leaves, rocket and salads are nice and dry before assembling - use a paper towel to remove most of the moisture
·       Put condiments like mayo in the middle of your sandwich, between meat or cheese
·       Use lettuce leaves as a barrier - layer first so they are directly in contact with the bread

Still lacking inspiration?
Don’t worry, we’ve prepared a lunchbox planner for the week ahead, plus a bunch of sandwich, wrap and roll recipes that are sure to inspire your lunches. You can find all these and more on our website. Check out our Mexican Bean Wrap which takes just 5 minutes to prepare, plus it’s a winner with the whole family!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Is plant-based meat all it’s cracked up to be?

Plant-based meats are booming on supermarket shelves, with our latest Australian-first study showing that the category has grown a massive five-fold in number - up 429% - since just 2015. There are now a staggering 137 products on the shelf, ranging from ‘bleeding’ burgers, to nut roasts and plant-based tuna.
This research was published in October in the International journal Nutrients* and was presented at the Nutrition Society of Australia conference in Newcastle in early December. Data was collected from the four major Australian supermarkets, comparing plant-based meats to their animal-based equivalents.
Researchers found that plant-based meats were generally lower in kilojoules, fats and protein and higher in carbohydrates and dietary fibre in comparison to their traditional animal-based meats. 
One third of the products captured were made with protein-rich legumes such as beans and lentils, while 20% of plant-based burgers contained whole grains like brown rice and quinoa. GLNC Nutrition Manager Felicity Curtain points to these findings as opportunities to bridge gaps in the Australian diet.
“We know convenience is a major barrier to eating both whole grains and legumes, so if you’re looking at plant-based meats, choosing one made with these ingredients may be an easy step to getting more of these short-fall foods into your diet.”
But there is room for improvement in the category, with plant-based mince six times higher in sodium than its traditional counterpart, and less than a quarter of products fortified with nutrients like Vitamin B12, Iron, and Zinc, which are naturally contained in many animal-based meats.
Based on these findings, GLNC are calling for more guidance in the development of plant-based meats, alongside input from nutrition professionals to ensure consumers can make healthy choices at the supermarket shelf.
The plant-protein trend is predicted to continue well into 2020 and beyond; the impacts of which may be a ‘win-win’ for our health and the environment.
“Plant-based foods like beans, legumes, tofu, nuts and seeds, and whole grains are packed with nutrition, and have a smaller environmental impact compared to animal products,” said Ms Curtain.
Although some of the plant-based meats contain valuable nutrients from the whole grain and legume ingredients and offer a convenient option, it's also beneficial to choose protein-rich whole foods on occasion too. Enjoying half a cup, or 100g, of beans, peas or lentils provides a valuable protein boost. 

Alternatively, making your own plant-based burgers with a variety of whole grains and legumes is an excellent choice. Take a look at just how easy it is by trying our delicious Black Bean Burgers  or McKenzies Supergrain Burgers for dinner tonight!

*Curtain, F.; Grafenauer, S. Plant-Based Meat Substitutes in the Flexitarian Age: An Audit of Products on Supermarket Shelves. Nutrients 2019, 11, 2603.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Choose the simple whole grain swap backed by global research!

In Australia, Nordic nations are best known for their chilly climate, flat-pack furniture, and addictive TV crime shows, but why not their whole grain habits? This Whole Grain Week, we’re encouraging you to eat like the Danish – who enjoy more than three times the amount of whole grain than most Aussies!

Our second Whole Grain Week (17-23 June) is all about spreading the word on how important whole grain foods are in our diet, inspiring Australians to make simple swaps for big health benefits and switch up their whole grain variety. And this year we're encouraging you to take the Whole Grain Challenge.

Whole grain foods like brown rice, pasta, oats, and wholemeal bread are packed with nutrition, and there’s good evidence that people who eat them regularly are less likely to develop heart disease, type 2 diabetes, even bowel cancer.

But unfortunately few Australians eat enough; 59% of us choose refined grains, eating an average of just 21g whole grain per day – less than half the recommended 48g Daily Target Intake.

The ‘New Nordic Diet,’ is one of the latest diets where whole grain foods feature heavily - think rye bread, oats, and barley, so it will come as no surprise that Danes devour an average of 63 grams of whole grain each day – trebling the Aussie effort!

Most of us know whole grain foods are full of fibre, but Accredited Practising Dietitians Alex Parker and Anna Debenham from The Biting Truth say there’s actually much more to it. “Whole grains are little nutrition powerhouses, delivering more than 26 nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, fibre, even antioxidants.”

So why don’t we eat more whole grain? For many Australians, it comes down to the extra time it may take to cook whole grains, as well as simply being in the habit of choosing refined grains like white bread, rice, and pasta. So how can you enjoy the health benefits of eating more, without compromising on taste or time? Themis Chryssidis and Callum Hann, from Sprout Cooking School say a bit of prior planning is key:

“Many whole grain varieties actually only take an average of just 4 minutes longer to cook than white varieties. But you can cut cooking time further by soaking grains like freekeh or brown rice overnight, or for a few hours in advance. You could also cook a big batch of whole grains on a free afternoon and freeze individual portions in snap-lock bags or containers – ready to throw in your lunch bag or defrost for dinner!” says Themis, an Accredited Practising Dietitian.

The duo also suggest checking out the expanding grains section in the supermarket, which is bursting with convenient microwaveable products and interesting new varieties – think quinoa/rice mixes, wild rice and every colour rice you can imagine - red, black, purple, barley, teff, amaranth, buckwheat and many more.

So why not try a few simple swaps this Whole Grain Week to boost your health, without compromising on taste or time. Check out our handy ready reckoner to see how you can reach your 48g every day!

The Biting Truth’s top three whole grain nutrition benefits!

1. Eating whole grains protects our health in the long-term, against things like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and bowel cancer. 

2. Choosing whole grain foods may help with weight maintenance: people who eat whole grains regularly are likely to have a healthy weight and waist circumference.

3. They’re great for our gut: the fibre in whole grains ‘feeds’ our good gut bacteria, which may improve our health in other ways – controlling our appetite, reducing inflammation, and boosting immunity. 

Try these delicious recipes to help you hit your whole grain target!

These delicious Baked Oats are a breakfast the whole family will love.
Enjoy a classic for lunch with an Egg & Lettuce Sandwich on wholemeal bread.
Make a batch of these Corn & Zucchini Muffins to tide you over for morning or afternoon tea!
For dinner, this Freekeh, Lentil & Bean Salad makes a great stand-alone or side dish with fish.

For more information on Whole Grain Week or to find out how you can help spread the whole grain message, visit our website here.

Monday, February 4, 2019

More peas please!

Sunday 10 February is the first ever World Pulses Day, celebrating all things beans, peas and lentils across the globe. We're singing the praises of the humble pea - often overlooked as a legume - peas are an easy and tasty way of upping your veggie and legume intake.

Peas are packed full of essential nutrients to help maintain our health, including fibre - just 1/2 cup of peas provides us with a fifth of our daily fibre intake.
1 cup of legumes provides us with... World Pulses Day website
Fresh, frozen or dried, there's a recipe to suit, so give peas a chance this World Pulses Day and take inspiration from our 10 ways with peas...

1. Add a sprinkle of green peas to your pasta

2. Pep up your salad and add some fresh green peas for a summery feel

3. Smash those peas and use to top your toast!

4. Pack your stir-fry with a pea punch

5. Easy peasy dip made easy!

6. Colour your breakfast with green by adding to your omelette!

7. No avocados? No problem! Try guacamole-pea by using fresh green peas for a light alternative

8. Looking for something different to try for a lazy brunch this weekend? Then why not give pea pancakes a bash?

9. Snack happy on yummy and crunchy roasted peas

10. Add to a frittata for a quick and fuss free reciPEA!

We recommend eating 1/2 cup of legumes 2-3 times a week to benefit from all the nutrients legumes provide. However you celebrate World Pulses Day this weekend, add a handful of beans, peas or lentils to your dish and enjoy! 

For more ways to enjoy legumes like black beans, chickpeas and legumes, read our article here.

Friday, February 1, 2019

The top four food trends for 2019...

With 2019 well underway, we've taken a look at some of the biggest trends affecting grains and legumes this year...

1. Digestive Wellness

Digestive wellness is once again the number one trend for the coming year and with good reason. Emerging research, media attention and consumer demand is driving this trend, with prebiotics and fibre leading the way for innovation.

Pushing the fibre trend, resistant starch (RS) - a specific type of fibre - looks set to hit the mainstream in the very near future - only recently promoted on pack and in general media, RS looks set to redefine the future of fibre, appealing to younger consumers and Millennials.

FODMAPs are making their mark too, with this trend now being forecast as the next gluten free - new to FODMAPs? Find out more in our latest hot topic here.

2. Plant-Based 
Another consistent trend and one that’s unlikely to be going anywhere soon, plant-based presents opportunities for everyone in the food industry.
Snacking in particular is a key sub-driver for the plant-based trend (previously a top 5 trend in its own right) with most consumers not only wanting to snack more frequently, but wanting to snack better and include more veggies. Convenience plays a big part here, specifically for young consumers.

Advances in technology are also helping drive this trend, with many fruits, vegetables and legumes now being used in previously unthinkable formats - the proliferation of ‘healthier’ alternatives to chips is a key example, with chickpeas, lentils and peas increasingly being used in place of potatoes.
3. Good Carbs, Bad Carbs

With the ketogenic diet currently a media focus and a recent survey revealing that 25% of Australians are avoiding carbs(1), the low-carb diet is still very much on our radar.

In recent years though, the message has been one of balance rather than exclusion, with ‘quality’ carbohydrates being shown as an essential part of a healthy diet. This has led to the evolution of the idea of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ carbs, the former generally including whole grains, vegetables and fruits and the latter consisting of refined carbohydrates like biscuits, doughnuts and other 'non-whole grain' grain foods.

While there is undoubtedly a way to go on general perception of carbohydrates, for now both the public and the media are moving in the right direction with a focus on ‘quality’ carbs.  

Find out more on the merits of carbs in a balanced diet here and how carbs can assist with sports performance here. Plus our hot topic on the Ketogenic Diet delves into the pros and cons of this controversial diet - read more here.

4. Authenticity and Provenance

The trend for product provenance has been growing at a steady rate for the last few years, and is now just beginning to take off as many mainstream consumers buy into the trend.

Several factors have helped push this trend, perhaps one of the most important being a move back towards a more traditional style of eating for younger consumers. Generation X and Millennials particularly seek a point of difference in their food.

Industry has also taken a big step in promoting these products with the realisation that products with a story offer more to many consumers and help to foster connections between people and industry. The popularity of sourdough bread is a prime example of the provenance trend making an everyday product exceptional.

To find out more about other current trends like Snacking and the New Nordic Diet, simply search our blog!

1. New Nutrition Business. 2018. 10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition and Health 2019.