Healthy Grains and Cereals

August 18, 2021

The great thing about incorporating healthy grains and cereals into your diet is that you can slip them into any meal of the day: switch up your breakfast cereal for a more wholesome alternative, boost your salad with a sprinkling of seeds or give your snacks a vitamin injection by choosing a healthy granola bar. 

Cereals 
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so start your day off the right way with a healthy, wholesome breakfast cereal or hot cereal loaded with delicious and nutritious grains and seeds. These breakfast porridges are packed with slow-release energy thanks to their high fibre and protein contents. Hot cereals are the ideal way to kick off a cold, winter morning or to get you going before that pre-work gym session. To make a hot grain breakfast cereal, it’s as simple as adding some milk (go plant-based for even more of a health boost!) or hot water and microwaving or stirring it on a medium heat over a hot stove.  

Products such as Bob’s Red Mill 10-grain contain a whole host of hearty grains such as rye, barley, whole wheat and rolled oats, all of which are packed with vitamins and minerals. If you want a gluten free option, try Holy Crap’s Maple + Gluten-Free Oats Breakfast Cereal, which comprises chia seeds, buckwheat and cranberries to fuel both your body and your brain. Sunny Boy’s Beta-Glucan Hot Cereal is a source of complex carbohydrates that’s a great breakfast option for those trying to lower their cholesterol.  

seeds flaxSeeds
Seeds are the starting point for plants to develop, which means they are packed with a massive quantity of nutrients considering their diminutive size. Look for healthy products that contain seeds or buy them in bulk to scatter over yogurt, salad and soup or incorporate a spoonful into smoothies or baking.  

Flaxseeds
Flaxseeds, flax, or linseeds as they’re also known, are an excellent source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, containing 7.8g and 8.2g respectively per ounce. They are high in antioxidants and can also help to reduce cholesterol, however most of their goodness is contained in the outer shell, which humans can’t digest, so it’s better to buy your flaxseed ground to get the most out of it. Sprinkle it over your hot cereal or yogurt or blend into your smoothie for a superfood boost. 

Hemp Seeds & Hemp Hearts
Hemp seeds come from the hemp plant (the same species as the marijuana plant but a different variety, and don’t worry, they contain no psychoactive properties).They are also “complete” protein sources, meaning they contain all the amino acids that our body needs but can’t produce on its own and are great for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet as they contain loads of protein, about 9 grams per ounce. Hemp seeds are technically nuts, meaning they have a mild, delicious flavour and they have a hard outer shell and a soft inside, which is known as the hemp heart and you can also find hemp hearts sold as such for that additional nutrient boost. The whole seed has a crunchy texture, meaning it’s best to consume it raw or toasted and scattered over a smoothie bowl or salad, while the hearts are much softer and have a milder taste, making them great for blending into soups, dips, or muffins for a protein boost. 

steel cut oatsOats 
Oats are one of the healthiest whole-grain foods and contain many important nutrients. Their high fibre, protein and healthy fat contents make them one of the best foods to eat for breakfast, setting you up for a fantastic day. In their complete form, oat groats take a long time to cook, which is why people tend to opt for steel cut oats, oat flakes or rolled oats…but what’s the difference between them?

Steel Cut Oats
Steel cut oats, or Irish oatmeal, are the closest thing to whole oat groats. As the name suggests, they are cut with steel blades and they have a coarser texture, meaning they take the longest to cook at about 15-20 minutes, but soaking them in water beforehand will reduce this. They are the least processed, meaning they contain the most fibre and nutrients out of the three. 

Rolled Oats 
Sometimes known as old-fashioned oats, rolled oats have been steamed and flattened, which gives them a softer texture and makes them quicker to cook: between 2 and 5 minutes. They are also great to add into muffins or cookies!

Oat Flakes or Quick Oats
Oat flakes are even quicker to cook as they have been steamed and flattened more than rolled oats and, as a result, they have a soft, mushy texture. It’s good to note that even with the increased processing, both rolled oats and oat flakes are still highly nutritious.

granola muesliMuesli
If you want to supercharge your breakfast but prefer a cold cereal for your morning meal, try swapping out your cereal for a bowl of muesli. Composed principally of raw, rolled oats, muesli can contain a vast and varied selection of other nutritious ingredients including seeds, dried fruit and nuts. As well as containing healthy ingredients, one of the great benefits of muesli as a morning meal is that it’s much, much lower in sugar than traditional breakfast cereals. In fact, most muesli contains zero added sugars and only contains some sugar from the dried fruit. 

Granola
This crunchy, tasty delight is a favourite of health-conscious foodies the world over. Granola is composed of similar ingredients to muesli but is baked in the oven, making it form crispy clusters. Granola can be bought either in a loose, cereal form or as a snack bar, which is perfect for getting in some nutrients when you’re on the go. One thing to watch out for when buying granola is the sugar and saturated fat contents as, in order to bind the pieces together, companies often use oils and refined sugars that undermine the presence of healthy oats, nuts and fruits. This is particularly common in granola bars however, there are many brands out there making highly nutritious granola that’s baked with healthy oils and natural sugars, making it a very tasty and healthy addition to a smoothie or yogurt bowl or simply served with some milk!   

Our Best from the West Brands:

Canmar Seeds
CanMar Foods is the largest processor of food-grade flax in Canada and North America. They clean, roast, package, and ship roasted flax to consumers and wholesalers around the world from their home in Saskatchewan. 

Highwood Crossing
Highwood Crossing has made a commitment to growing good, clean food. The company’s farm, crops and food products are organic by design rather than by default and they are 100% committed to sustainable agriculture growing only organic, non-GMO crops such as wheat, rye, flax, oats, barley, peas, hay, and sweet clover.

Holy Crap
Delicious, gluten-free, high-fiber, organic, non-GMO, energizing breakfast cereals​. Made only with real unprocessed ingredients in British Columbia. 

Manitoba Harvest
Manitoba Harvest’s mission to transform consumer health starts simply and sustainably: with hemp. Since 1998, they’ve grown their portfolio of hemp products with a dedication to quality, sustainability, and consumer wellness that has positioned the company as the global leader in hemp foods.

Only Oats
Only Oats was founded in 2008 by a group of Canadian oat growers in the prairies who wanted to provide a gluten-free oat product that was safe for their celiac disease-diagnosed family members to eat. The Only Oats name came to be out of the fact that these products carry “only” pure, clean, safe, gluten-free oats, nothing else.    

Stoked Oats
Based in Calgary, Stoked Oats is proud to support Canadian farmers, as 100% of their oats are grown in Canada. Alberta grown flax, Quebec sourced maple, Washington State apples, and California currants, walnuts, and almonds rounds out the fresh, natural ingredients. Stoked Oats has production facilities in Calgary and Toronto.  

Sunny Boy
Sunny Boy Foods Ltd. is a Canadian company that produces flours, breakfast cereals, pancake, and waffle mixes. Sunny Boy Foods Ltd. believes in making eating well a simple choice. The company’s mill produces hot cereal, flours and pancake mixes that respect an 80-year-old Sunny Boy tradition to quality.

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