Variety in Your Grains

There is such a variety of grains out there ready for our use…why limit ourselves to whole wheat? My recommendation for beginning on the pathway to more nutritious eating is to try and eliminate white flour and replace with whole wheat (read more here). This is a huge step in the right direction! As you become more familiar with whole wheat, it is very nutritious to start including a variety of grains in your diet!

Here is what we use around our kitchen. There are many more quality grains out there, but I have simplified my kitchen to use some of the easiest to work with…

Hard White Spring Wheat

This is my choice when it comes to choosing a whole wheat grain. It has protein levels comparable to hard red winter (the standard available whole wheat), and yet produces a bread light in color and texture that has all the nutrition of traditional whole wheat. It is light and sweet! I use this mainly in homemade bread or pizza crust, but more recently have been loving the use of spelt!

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

It is also a soft spring wheat, lower in protein and gluten, thus makes lighter textured quick breads and desserts of all types. I use pastry flour for bagels, raspberry muffins, cornbread, etc.


Kamut is a wheat, but is 20-40% higher in protein than whole wheat, slightly higher in 8 of 9 minerals, considerably higher in magnesium and zinc, and up to 65% higher in amino acids. It produces a texture lighter than whole wheat. My experimenting has shown that kamut produces a more crumbly product when using in quick breads, muffins, desserts, etc. but works superior to wheat when used in pizza crust or tortillas. It rolls out surprisingly well! In combination with oats it makes the best waffles and pancakes!


Spelt dates back to Old Testament times (see Exodus 9:31, 32; Isaiah 28:25; Ezekiel 4:9). Containing both soluble and insoluble fibers, spelt is easily digested and has been considered beneficial for digestion, gas, and nausea. It is rich in essential fatty acids and higher in fiber than wheat. Spelt is a high energy food due to its higher fat and protein content than wheat. Spelt makes a delicious homemade bread (Sue Gregg has a wonderful homemade bread which works very well with spelt), wonderful biscuits (used in combination with pastry flour), and tortillas (this was my favorite experiment this past week – yum!).

Although kamut and spelt are slightly more expensive than your standard whole wheat, their superior nutrition makes them an excellent substitute.


Oats provide high energy, containing one of the highest amounts of grain protein and fat. They are rich in iron, phosphorus, and inositoal, with a good amount of minerals. Oats are the grain highest in vitamin B-1 and are a good source of vitamin B-2 and vitamin E. Oats also contain silicon, valuable to healthy hair, skin, eyes, and nails. A bowl of hot oatmeal served daily for breakfast is one of the easiest ways you can provide whole grain nutrition on a strict food budget. We enjoy soaked oatmeal 2-3 times a week!

Brown Rice

Brown rice is far superior to white rice in nutrient content. We like to use it as an accompanying dish such as with chicken curry, or to incorporate in with a casserole. Alot of times I will throw it in with a casserole (such as crockpot ragout, or shepherd’s pie) even if the recipe does not call for it…helps incorporate more healthy grains in our diet! We also use brown rice pasta for all our Italian cooking! It provides more of a sticky pasta and yet it is really delicious!


Quinoa is a funny little grain that is very nutty and somewhat crunchy in flavor and rich in amino acid protein. I use it in replacement of brown rice on occasion and in the same manner.  Quinoa & Black Beans is a good recipe for a side dish.


This is a fun little grain to just throw in with my bread and banana millet muffins! I also have ground it alot together with brown rice in the past to make a breakfast porridge for Karis before introducing gluten. It also works very well in combination with brown rice for waffles/pancakes too!

So here are your simple steps towards eating healthy grains:

1. Begin eliminating white flour for the most part!

2. Increase a variety in your grains

3. Learn about the benefits of soaking your grains to make them easily digestible to your body!

For a great list of further recipes with many of these grains and others, check these two posts by Michele at Frugal Granola. Very thorough review with an abudance of recipe links!

De-Mystifying Grains/Legumes – Part 1
De-Mystifying Grains /Legumes- Part 2

Kimi @ Nourishing Gourmet shares her Grain Buying Tips!

For more kitchen tips, visit Tammy’s Recipes.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

21 Responses to Variety in Your Grains

  1. Jessica February 15, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    I know this is an old post, but I’m planning on ordering millet soon for the first time and was wondering if you buy hulled millet or un hulled millet?


  2. Tracy June 29, 2010 at 7:58 am #

    Hi, I have recently found your site and LOVE it! I know this is an old post, but I have a question. Where do you get your glass jars to put grains in, like the ones in the picture? I would like to do that with my grains. Thanks!

    • Carrie September 18, 2010 at 7:42 am #

      Tracy, I think I saw those at Ikea a couple weeks ago. Not sure if that’s the exact same, but pretty sure!

  3. karen November 13, 2008 at 10:46 pm #

    Hello! I wanted to write just a quick note to say how much i am enjoying your website. I just happened upon it when i was looking for info on soaking flour and grains. Such great info you have! I especially like that you share lots of info on how to live healthy and frugally at the same time (as it is hard to do). Your site has been such an encouragement to me. I am a young (more or less) mom of four young children (all under 5), trying to train them up to be godly adults and in the world today it is easy to become discouraged. You all are so encouraging–thankyou. Also i wanted to suggest a few reading material for you if you haven’t already read them. First is a little book called “Aim Your CHild Like an Arrow” by Vikki Burke. It is just a little booklet, but very powerful with many insights into child-rearing and scriptures divided into different topics to pray over you childrenn. Second would be books by author Francine Rivers. Don’t know if you are familiar with her works, but they are riveting. “A Voice in the Wind”, there are three books in that series–all highly recommended. Though they are novels you will find yourself changed after reading them. Also by her, “Redeeming Love”–one of my favorites. Well i am so glad that i have the opportunity all the way in Illinois to glean from all of these wonderful women, from all over, trying to live God-fearing lives in a less than God-fearing world! Thanks again. I am going to be an avid reader from here on out!

  4. Kim September 29, 2008 at 10:19 am #

    I have a huge (unused, so far) bag of whole wheat pastry flour. I was planning to try an whole wheat cinnamon rolls–do you know if I can just substitute the ww pastry flour? Or would that be a bad idea?

    • Lindsay September 29, 2008 at 12:51 pm #

      No, that would work great! Laura at Heavenly Homemakers has a good whole wheat recipe that I have tried and enjoyed. I would probably prefer it with half whole wheat pastry and half unbleached white flour though…but it still tasted great with just whole wheat pastry!

  5. Theresa September 28, 2008 at 6:15 pm #

    We switched over in December and no longer use store bought flour. I know you have already recommended a grain mill to your readers, but they also might like to know that it is not just the health benefits, but that there is an EXTREME taste difference! My Hubby did not like the things I made with whole wheat flour, even high quality storebought ww flour. Now that we grind it, he loves everything. I even make cookies, desserts etc with our fresh ground flour and he LOVES them. He had no desire to really be a “health nut” but went along for our children’s benefit.

    Spelt is my favorite and I grew up having millet for cereal for breakfast at my Grandma’s (she was decades ahead of her time on food nutrition and cooking) and it was such a treat.

    You mentioned using variety and I liked Sue Gregg’s tip to use other grains in muffins, pancakes, waffles etc because wheat is great for bread, but some of the other grains are not as good for that and could be used in quick breads. We tried the blender muffins using using Kamut and it was interesting – a cross between wheat and corn in flavor and sweet. We didn’t have a crumbly problem with them. I haven’t tried it in bread yet but want to.

    Thanks for posting your recipes. It’s fun to try new things.

  6. Colleen September 23, 2008 at 8:35 pm #

    I love your tips on using a variety of whole grains… and have been enjoying new experiments. My hubby really enjoyed your quinoa recipe – and he is a hard sell. Any one else have a husband who just really loves white flour? He is very patient and willing to try anything, but I feel I need to make him something “white” every couple of weeks or he begins to walk around with a sad puppy dog face. :) Side note – we tried your creamy vegetable soup tonight and my sweet hubby said it was the best soup I’d ever made. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Andrea in Alaska September 23, 2008 at 1:30 pm #

    Wow! Your blog is a book of great information! Thank you so much for sharing and taking the time to write so much. I use your recipes and suggestions as resources all the time!

  8. DeAnna September 23, 2008 at 10:30 am #

    I’ve never used the Kamut — how does it taste in pizza crust? We’re having teens over to our house on Sunday night (probably only about 10-12 teens) and I was going to make some homemade pizza. I was wondering if I could find a whole grain flour that would not taste too “healthy” for them, but still be healthier for us. Or do you have any other suggestions? We pretty much have used spelt or whole wheat for pizza.

    • Lindsay September 23, 2008 at 1:55 pm #

      All whole grains will definitely still taste a little healthier than white flour, but with all the toppings it is pretty easy to still taste delicious! Give it a try! You can always try half kamut and half white flour when it comes to company. It will still be imparting some good nutrients. That always flies very well!

      • DeAnna September 23, 2008 at 4:25 pm #

        Thanks! I do have some organic unbleached white flour so I will probably try half and half. I think if I did whole wheat these kids would be shocked. Once when they came over, I mentioned we were having soup (white chicken chili) and after they ate it, most of them said, “When you mentioned soup, I didn’t think I’d want any, but this stuff was good!” I did sneak in some cookies I made for them with whole wheat pastry flour and honey and they didn’t seem to notice. :)

  9. Michelle September 23, 2008 at 7:35 am #

    I have just recently began eating gluten free due to my intolerance to gluten. I am finding it difficult to come up with a good homemade bread recipe. In fact, I am looking for a good all purpose mix to make muffins, waffles, etc. The pre packaged ones are pretty good but highly expensive. Also, one of my children has allergies to all nuts so we cannot do any kind of almond based products. Any suggestions would be helpful.

  10. Sherry September 23, 2008 at 6:17 am #

    Thank you for sharing about grains! We are trying to eat healthier, but I hadn’t branched out into any grains besides whole wheat.

  11. Carmen September 23, 2008 at 6:11 am #

    Thanks for the great ideas! Where do you get all your nutritional infomration from?

    • Lindsay September 23, 2008 at 7:25 am #

      I meant to include that in my post. Most of the above nutritional information is provided from Sue Gregg and her Breakfast cookbook where she highlights all the different grains. Excellent resource!

  12. Julie September 23, 2008 at 5:16 am #

    Where do you find Whole Wheat Pastry Flour? Does it have to be at a health food store? Our grocery stores don’t have it.

    • Lindsay September 23, 2008 at 7:26 am #

      I buy all my grains from in whole grain form (its called Soft Spring Wheat when purchasing it whole), but you can also find it in Fred Meyer Nutrition center already ground, I believe.

      • Julie September 23, 2008 at 11:57 am #

        Thank you! I will check out those sources!!

  13. Andrea September 23, 2008 at 4:27 am #

    Thanks for the grain tips. I am definitely going to try kamut for tortillas since I have some on hand. I have only used it in pancakes and muffins. It takes me forever to roll homemade tortillas, but I can’t stand the ones from the store after making my own. :-)


  14. Emma September 23, 2008 at 1:48 am #

    Thanks for this post. I’m often thinking I need to incorporate more varied grains into our cooking, but I don’t know where to start so this is helpful!