03-POTATOES & GRAINS (RICE, PASTA, TAMALE, COUSCOUS, POLENTA, GRITS, BULGUR, BARLEY, QUINOA)
Along with Vegetables, the grain category represents one of the largest food groups recommended by the Mediterranean dietary style. It means most of our calories should come from these two groups. Luckily for our good health, grains happen to be one of our favorite things to fix at EVOO.
So why are Potatoes listed here? If anyone thinks we don’t know the difference between grains and a potato, we do, but we have included potatoes here because they are a very important both for flavor and nutrition in many cuisines of the world. Potatoes therefore, are not to be eliminated, but thought of as a good food. And because of their satisfaction qualities, we recommend eating smaller portions and limiting the frequency to a few times a week.
And just so you know we have given bread, (an important grain food), its own chapter because it is a bakery item. When planning a menu we have trained ourselves to start in both the grain and vegetable categories and fruit, or in today’s vernacular, eating plant-forward. More typically, people start a menu with the meat. Meat in the food business is often referred to as the “center of the plate.”
We have planned many dinners with meat at the center of the plates in our career, but we are striving to break the habit and keep the animal protein as accents to the rest of the meal. And one last note, Quinoa, is not really a grain in the plant world, but we use it like a grain, it tastes like a grain, and acts like one, so it has been put into the grain group. And since Quinoa is such a great source of complete protein, we almost put it in the bean category, with the other complete plant proteins.