Save Money, Time, and Calories! Freeze Your Grains

I am all for anything that makes healthy eating a little easier| so when I kept seeing those packages of frozen cooked whole grains at health food stores and Trader Joe’s| the idea seemed pretty awesome. They take minutes to prepare| and since you’re not cooking up a huge pot| they also help keep portions in check. But they’re pricey ¡ª $4-$6 for a small package seems a little insane. I thought| “I can make these!”

It’s a cinch to DIY your own freezer bags of cooked grains| and because you’re in charge| you decide what types of grains and how much ¡ª you can even mix them such as quinoa with rice. Any whole grains will work whether it’s rice| quinoa| farro| millet| or barley. It works best to make a big batch of whole grains at once| but you can also freeze small batches if you have them left over from dinner. Cook them plain| in broth| or flavored with fresh herbs; use this handy guide for cooking almost any grain. Once they’re cooked| allow them to cool completely. Measure them out in half-cup| one-cup| or two-cup servings| label the bags| and freeze them flat to save room (and to help them cook faster).

When you’re ready to eat your grains| remove the bag or glass container from the freezer. Pour the contents into a bowl to microwave| or reheat in a small pot on the stove top. Or add your grains to hot pots of soup or to saut¨¦ pans when cooking meals. Or place the frozen bag of grains in your lunchbox before heading out the door| and it not only serves as an ice pack| but your grains will also be thawed by lunchtime. They’ll make meals and side dishes in minutes ¡ª perfect for hot breakfasts or stir-fries| mixed into your bowl of greens| layered in your lunchtime mason jar salads. You can even reuse those plastic freezer bags ¡ª just rinse and air-dry.

For reference| here are the calorie counts of half-cup servings of cooked grains:

Grain (1/2 cup cooked) Calories Carbs (g) Fiber (g) Protein (g)

Barley97 calories22.231.8Farro100 calories263.54Millet104 calories20.61.13.1Quinoa111 calories19.72.64.1Rice| Long Grain Brown108 calories22.41.82.5Rice| Short Grain Brown108 calories22.21.82.5

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar