Whole grains* are a staple for many dancers: the complex carbs, fiber and protein combine to give you long-lasting energy. They’re also versatile and can be mixed with all kinds of veggies, greens and beans for a healthy meal.
Today, we’ll combine grains with leafy greens, which is the number one missing food in the American diet. This meal travels well in a Tupperware and is good hot or cold, so I’m putting it in the “lunch” category. Of course, it would also make a yummy dinner…
- Add a cup (or 2) of rice to a pot of boiling water.
- Wait for water to boil again, then turn it down to a steady simmer on medium heat and cook until grains are tender.
- Then strain them in a strainer. (Most grains have cooking directions on the bag/box; if they don’t just google it to double check.)
While the grains are cooking, prepare the greens.
- Wash and chop the greens (or rip with your hands)
- For kale and collard greens, add them to a large frying pan that has about 2 cups of boiling water in it. Cover and let cook down for 5 minutes. When greens are still bright green, but reduced, remove from heat and strain.
- For spinach, add to an inch of boiling water or a bit of olive oil; let wilt. Remove and strain.
**Some suggestions for leafy greens:fresh spinach, kale, collard greens, and Swiss chard. These four are full of calcium, fiber, vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Now you are ready to mix the grains and greens. Keep your proportions 1 part grains to 2 parts greens. Depending on oils and spices, you can make the dish taste any way you like. You’ll not need much oil- just a drizzle. Here are some suggestions:
- Mediterranean: olive oil, pine nuts (optional), salt and pepper
- Middle-eastern: sesame oil, sesame seeds (optional), salt and pepper
- Asian: peanut oil, bit of soy sauce or tamari
And voila! A healthy, hearty meal that will sate your appetite and give back in the form of energy and nutrients. If you prefer more complex tastes, stay tuned for ways to jazz up these simple dishes. However you serve it, this is going to make your body a lot happier than that rice cake you usually eat. I promise.
* Whole grains are grains in their original, unaltered form, like brown rice, farro, or quinoa. Not like white rice or “quick cook” anything.