‘Cereal’, ‘grain’, and ‘cereal grain’ are interchangeable
terms, all meaning the same thing. They are
the edible seeds from certain plants
of the ‘Poaceae’ botanical family
What are cereals?
The list of true cereal grains includes:
But what about all the other grains we’ve heard about? And the ones we often have in our pantry now like quinoa and buckwheat? Oh and in case you are wondering, freekeh, spelt, farro, emmer and eikorn are still cereals; they are a type of wheat so fall under that banner.
What are pseudo-cereals?
Then there’s the variety of pseudo-cereals, or pseudo-grains. This includes:
So, why are they not true grains like their wheaty oaty friends? Well, while quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth are consumed in the same way as grains, and are similar nutritionally to grains, they don’t come from the Poaceae grass family. Think more ‘broad-leafed’ than a grass.
What are seeds?
Now that we’re official grainiacs we can move on up to seed school. What’s the difference between grains and seeds? And, didn’t I say earlier that grains are the seeds from grasses within the Poaceae family? Yes, and they are, but, while all grains are seeds, seeds are not grains. Beginning to sound like a Dr Suess book? Stay with me.
Seeds are the reproductive mechanism of plants. They are nutritionally different to grains, containing a higher percentage of lipids (fats). Great examples include flaxseed and sunflower oils. There are plenty of seeds (that aren’t grains) common to our diets, such as sunflower seeds, chia seeds, sesame, poppy seed and cumin.
So lastly, what are our hot tips?
Firstly, stick to whole grains. They’re richer in protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients than their refined versions. When buying products off the shelf look for “high in whole grains” on the label.
Second, try to get inventive with cereals and seeds! Check out recipes that use them in different ways to how you're used to. Maybe a sprinkle of mixed seeds on your oats in the morning, or how about our Chia, Buckwheat and Banana Pancakes?
So, now that you’re cereal savvy make sure to include whole grains and seeds in your diet!
Words by Assoc. Nutritionist Iydi Willis
Cadence College of Health & Nutrition Coaching
If this was up your alley then why not consider a course in Super Nutrition, Superfoods, Functional Foods; Fact and Fallacy, and learn of the powerful health benefits some of our foods are packing?
We all have a role to play in community health, the only question is how do we play this role? Through intelligent, evidence-based inquiry we can understand how to health coach to support others in taking on positive behaviour change.