The One Ingredient This Southern R.D. Adds To Grits To Up Their Health Benefits

If I had to guess, I'd imagine grits aren't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of R.D.-approved grains, but for mbg's Director of Scientific Affairs and registered dietitian Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., R.D.N. they're a perfectly suitable side dish, or the start of a delicious meal."Grits are often a forgotten or regionalized grain option," she says, "which is too bad, since key varieties (stone ground) are in fact, whole grains. I personally think grits deserve the limelight again and see it up there right beside other gluten-free grains like quinoa, oats, brown rice, etc."Not actually sure what grits are? At their most simple, they're a porridge made from ground corn (or corn meal), but when looking for the most nutrient-forward option, it's all about grabbing the stone ground variety. "It's the cream of the crop because it's made from whole kernels of dried corn," explains Ferira, "In other words, the bran, germ, and endosperm are all intact. Practically, this means there's more nutrition delivered to your body, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals." Her favorite option is Palmetto Farms' stone ground grits, which have the added bonus of being made from non-GMO corn.

The One Ingredient This Southern R.D. Adds To Grits To Up Their Health Benefits

If I had to guess, I'd imagine grits aren't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of R.D.-approved grains, but for mbg's Director of Scientific Affairs and registered dietitian Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., R.D.N. they're a perfectly suitable side dish, or the start of a delicious meal.

"Grits are often a forgotten or regionalized grain option," she says, "which is too bad, since key varieties (stone ground) are in fact, whole grains. I personally think grits deserve the limelight again and see it up there right beside other gluten-free grains like quinoa, oats, brown rice, etc."

Not actually sure what grits are? At their most simple, they're a porridge made from ground corn (or corn meal), but when looking for the most nutrient-forward option, it's all about grabbing the stone ground variety. "It's the cream of the crop because it's made from whole kernels of dried corn," explains Ferira, "In other words, the bran, germ, and endosperm are all intact. Practically, this means there's more nutrition delivered to your body, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals." Her favorite option is Palmetto Farms' stone ground grits, which have the added bonus of being made from non-GMO corn.

A simple way to add more nutrients to this classic Southern dish

"As a Southerner, grits have been a staple of my diet for as long as I can remember," says Ferira, "In addition to the delicious taste and satiating benefit of stone ground grits, I find them to be a versatile grain for meals throughout the day, both savory and sweet."

Because they're so versatile, the ingredients you infuse can add other key nutrients to your meal. "As the base, a healthy protein addition is always complementary. I love adding seafood, especially shrimp, scallops, and salmon. It's a delectable combo with grits, but you also gain healthy omega-3 fats."

If you want to get creative and "infuse" more flavor and color into the grits, there's no limit to creativity. Consider a berry-laden sweet grit, sun dried tomatoes and red peppers for a red veggies infusion, or the goodness of green grits (with the help of organic veggies+, pesto, Brussels sprouts, and kale).

Below, exactly how to make those green grits she mentioned—because, seriously, how good do they sound?

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