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Turn To Whole Grains For A Nutritional Boost

By Family Features

August 17, 2023

Nutritious eating, including smarter snacking, is an important way to protect your Heart and maintain Overall Health and Wellness. While many people understand the basics of healthy eating - avoiding too many sugary treats, for example - some are confused about important food categories that can impact Nutrition.

According to a Survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Heart Association, U.S. adults are least knowledgeable about Refined vs. Whole Grains compared to other food categories like Fruits, Vegetables and Proteins. Whole Grains are, in fact, a key feature of the Association's recommendations for a Heart-Healthy Diet.

There are two types of Grain Products: Whole Grains, which contain the entire Grain and Refined Grains, which have been milled into a finer texture like Flour or Meal. Most adults, according to the Survey, are able to distinguish Whole vs. Refined Grains. However, there are a few misperceptions.

Most incorrectly believe Multi-Grain Bread is a Whole Grain. Additionally, only 17% believe Sorghum is an example of a Whole Grain when it is, in fact, a Whole Grain option. Whole Grains like Sorghum, Oatmeal and Brown Rice are rich sources of Dietary Fiber, may improve Blood Cholesterol Levels and provide Nutrients that help the body form new Cells, regulate the Thyroid and maintain a healthy Immune System.

These sweet, chewy Date Nut Granola Bars from the American Heart Association's Healthy for Good initiative, supported by the Sorghum Checkoff, are a perfect go-to snack for enjoying throughout the week. Popped Sorghum adds a surprise ingredient for crunchy texture while Dry-Roasted Oats and Nuts provide a delicious, toasted flavor.

To discover more whole-grain recipes that can support a healthy heart, visit:

Date Nut Granola Bars
Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association and Sorghum Checkoff
Servings: 12 (1 Bar per serving)

• Nonstick cooking spray
• 1 1/2 Cups of Rolled Oats
• 1/4 Cup of almond slices or whole almonds, coarsely chopped
• 1/4 Cup of shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
• 1 Cup of pitted dates
• 1/2 Cup of unsweetened dried cranberries
• 1/4 Cup of uncooked whole-grain sorghum
• 1/4 Cup of honey
• 1/4 Cup of low-sodium peanut butter
• 1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
• 1/8 Teaspoon of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.

On a large baking sheet, spread oats, almonds and pistachios in a single layer. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly brown, stirring occasionally. Let cool slightly.

In a food processor or blender, process dates and cranberries 1-1 1/2 minutes, or until chopped and clumpy. Transfer to a large bowl.

Put 2 Tablespoons of Sorghum in a Silicone microwaveable bowl or clean, brown paper bag. If using a microwaveable bowl, cover with a lid. If using a paper bag, roll it shut and place it on a microwavable dinner plate with a fold facing down. Microwave it on high for 2 minutes, or until there are more than 10 seconds between pops. Repeat with the remaining Sorghum, microwaving it for 1 1/2 minutes, or until more than 10 seconds between the pops.

Stir in the Popped Sorghum, the Oats, the Almonds and the Pistachios into a Date mixture.

In a small saucepan over Low Heat, heat the Honey and the Peanut Butter for 5 minutes, or until the Peanut Butter is smooth and the mixture is warmed, stirring it occasionally. Remove it from the heat. Stir in the Vanilla and the Salt.

Pour the Peanut Butter mixture over the Date mixture, stirring to break into small clumps. Transfer half to a baking pan. Using the bottom of the drinking glass or fingers lightly sprayed with Nonstick Cooking Spray, press down firmly to flatten and pack it tightly so the clumps adhere to each other. Repeat it with the remaining half. Freeze it covered for about 1 hour until it is firm.

Place the cutting board over the pan. Turn the pan over. Discard the plastic wrap. Using a knife, cut into 12 bars. Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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