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What’s the Deal with Sprouted Grains?

Thank you to my friends at Kashi for sponsoring this post!

Have you guys heard of sprouted grains? The nutritional superstars are popping up all over ingredient lists and grocery store shelves lately. But what are they?

To understand sprouted grains, let’s first talk a little bit about grains. Grains (wheat, rice, corn, oats, barley, etc.) are actually the mature, dormant seeds of plants (cereal grasses). Just like any other seed (and beans!), under the right temperature and moisture levels, these seeds contain the potential to continue the life cycle and germinate – sprout – into a new plant. For example, wheatgrass, the green grass looking stuff that often finds its way into virtuous shots at juice bars, is simply the young grass of fully sprouted (germinated) wheat.

There are three edible parts of a whole grain – the germ, endosperm, and the bran, which are not only nutritious for us but also important in the growth cycle of the grain. The germ is the plant embryo; when it grows, it will feed on the endosperm. Once the grain/seed has started to sprout, but before it has developed into a full plant, it’s considered a “sprouted grain.” You will be able to see this – the bran will be split open with a shoot poking out. 

In the sprouted grain stage, some of the starchy portion of the grain will have been digested by the shoot – this is what fuels its growth, and what also accounts for the nutritional differences between sprouted and regular (non-germinated) grains. Basically, the grain will now have less starch in relation to protein, vitamins, and minerals. Enzyme activity will also have transformed the long term storage starch of the endosperm into smaller, easier to digest (for us, and the growing plant embryo) molecules.

sprouted grains infographic

Some research also suggests that certain vitamins and minerals (like vitamin C, iron and zinc) may be easier for us to absorb after sprouting, too, likely due to a reduction in phytates, which are a natural compound that normally inhibit mineral absorption from some plant foods. Many grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds contain natural chemicals, like phytates, that help to protect them from sprouting prematurely, but these can also make it harder for us to absorb the nutrients from them. Sprouting can help to reduce these natural chemicals and free up some of the nutrients for absorption.

I’ve been a big fan of sprouted grains for awhile now – especially sprouted grain bread – so when I heard that Kashi was coming out with a new sprouted grain cereal I was pumped.

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The cereal will be available at select grocery stores (Whole Foods, Costco, Kroger) nationwide starting in April. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview – check out the awesomely covert white box! Matt was like, what the heck is this?!

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Here’s what the packaging will actually look like. :)

Kashi Sprouted Grains Box 3D

The cereal will be part of their Organic Promise line; it’s USDA Certified Organic, vegan, Non-GMO Project Verified, and has no artificial additives or preservatives. Check out this stellar ingredient list:

INGREDIENTS: Organic Sprouted Wheat, Organic Sprouted Brown Rice, Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Sprouted Oats, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Sprouted Barley, Organic Sprouted Spelt, Organic Sprouted Amaranth, Sea Salt, Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols)

Right up my alley. It also provides of 6g fiber and 6g protein (awesome for cereal!) per 1 & 1/4 cup serving. As for the taste, both Matt and I really like it! Not too sweet (I hate sweet cereal – this has 9g sugar and it was the right amount of sweetness) and really crunchy, which I love. I’ll absolutely be buying this when it’s out in stores and will be adding it to my list of cereals to recommend to clients, too.

I’ve mostly been enjoying handfuls of it as a snack – especially in the early mornings pre-workout on days when I’m not hungry enough to have a whole piece of toast with nut butter, but this morning I had it for breakfast. I was hot and hungry after a morning run and in the mood for something quick – perfect.

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I had a mixture of full fat cottage cheese, slivered almonds and walnuts, the sprouted grain cereal, and some leftover homemade cranberry sauce. SO good! Great salty/sweet mix and loved all the texture, too. I think I’ll be having the exact same thing tomorrow!

Are you a sprouted grain fan? I also like sprouted legumes! If you’re interested in sprouting at home, here’s a good post I found: how to sprout seeds, beans, and grains at home.

Comments

  1. 1

    I’ve been meaning to try sprouting my own at home! I love Kashi so I’ll definitely be trying this cereal when I can find it in my store.

  2. 2

    I too want to sprout my own grains at home at some point! This was such an informative post – and I can’t wait to try the new cereal! I’ll be on the look out for sure! Thanks for sharing!

  3. 3

    Very interested post! I do like sprouted grains – I have never tried it myself though. I buy Ezikiel bread all the time though.

  4. 4

    Sprouted is the way to go. SO excited to hear Kashi has a sprouted cereal because as far as I know one that tastes decent does not exist right now. I also consume sprouted tofu, bread, tortillas, protein powder, etc.

  5. 8

    I was eating gluten free for awhile so I was staying away from grains in general, but I actually just wrote a post today about why I am not longer eating GF. I used to eat a lot of Ezekiel bread, but when I started eating GF I had a whole loaf left in the freezer. Now that I am eating grains in small quantities, I might grab some more.

    Excited to see that Kashi is making this cereal. My husband always eats Cinnamon Harvest, so there’s always some Kashi in the house. I just check to make sure it is one of their healthier cereals because some have way more ingredients that don’t appeal to me.

    • 9

      We always have a box of Kashi Cinnamon Harvest in our house, too! I like to make my own granola, but I mix it with various boxed cereals (most often the Cinnamon Harvest or plain Shredded Wheat). I’ll definitely try mixing it with the Sprouted Grain Flakes once it hits stores.

      Thanks for the review, Anne!

  6. 10

    I work for the biggest distributor of sprouted seeds and legumes in Ireland..Living Foods at the Happy Pear! Darragh is the younger brother of the twins that own the restaurant. My favourites have to be sprouted sunflower, pea and mung bean!!! Lots of crunch to a salad!

  7. 11

    I just can’t give Kashi my money, seeing as they are really Kellogg masquerading as a health food company (Kellogg owns Kashi). I wouldn’t have as much of a problem with it they weren’t selling purposefully labelled non-GMO products to try and draw in a certain market of customers while simultaneously donating tons of money to anti-GMO labeling efforts. It really just seems so hypocritical to me, and I’m not even that worried about GMOs to be honest. I just can’t stand a company actively fighting a group of people and their wishes and then profiting from that group at the same time.

    I do have a question about sprouted grains though. I have heard before that unless they are stored frozen or refrigerated that sprouted grains lose a lot of their beneficial nutrients (sort of like ground flax). Is that true? Because then I don’t understand how sprouted grain cereal would be a better option. This is the reason I won’t buy the sprouted grain bread at my Trader Joes- they don’t refrigerate/freeze it! I only buy sprouted grain bread that is frozen. But I’d like some confirmation on that because I can’t remember where I picked it up and how legit a source it was. Thanks!

    • 12
      Stephanie says:

      I totally agree about Kellogg/Kashi. Can’t support that company even though I love many of the Kashi cereals. I also have the same questions about freezing sprouted grains. Always wondered why TJ could have theirs on the shelf…

    • 13

      Hi Amy – thanks for sharing your thoughts! I’ve asked Kashi to respond so we’ll see what they say. I’m not really that concerned about GMOs (I feel like there are more important battles for me to fight and I have to pick my battles – e.g. short ingredient lists, no artificial colors/preservatives/sweeteners, etc.). That said, curious to hear their response. I know they have been working hard to get their products non-GMO, but that does seem weird if their parent company is going against that. We’ll see what they say! Regarding the frozen thing, I wish I knew the answer to that but I don’t! I asked Kashi to see if they have an answer to that, too. Stay tuned! I always thought it was weird that Ezekiel was frozen everywhere except for Trader Joe’s, too! You should reach out to TJ’s and ask them why they don’t do that!

      • 14

        Yeah I don’t care much about GMOs myself, my problem with them is the hypocrisy of donating money to fight a group of people while simultaneously marketing their products to appeal to that same group. I just can’t get past that, it seems so skeevy! I’ll be interested to hear their response, if they respond.

        • 15

          Everyone should be concerned about GMOs! Genetically modifying a food changes its properties and how our bodies react to/digest them. A prime example is wheat and peanuts. They are two of the most highly modified foods and allergies to these products are rising at a staggering rate.

  8. 16

    Now that is so nifty! Thank you for the information on sprouted grains and their nutritional benefits, I had always been slightly confused as to what their benefits were before. And I’m glad Kashi is branching out to try this sprouted grain cereal to provide an easier way to try them for yourself.

  9. 17

    I have baked with sprouted grain flour and liked the the way it baked….comparable to “regular” flour….not dense, measurement/usage amounts are the same, and neutral taste. I havent bought it in a while. Ill have to tevisut that. Thanks for the in-depth details! I love the facts and science of food.

  10. 18

    I’ve never tried the sprouted grains Kashi, but we buy the Go Lean Crunch pretty frequently! It usually ends up being a snack over breakfast for me, because I can’t bear to part with my eggs. :) I almost bought a sprouted grain bread at Costco the other day, I can’t remember the brand name. I’ll have to give it a shot next time! I don’t remember if it was organic or not, though. Do you think there’s a big difference?

  11. 20

    Such an awesome and informative post, thanks Anne!

  12. 21

    Thanks, Anne! Really appreciate you breaking that down for us – I usually defer to sprouted grains as being “healthier” because that’s what I’ve been told, but I really like learning the science behind it. I think I may try making some sprouted chickpea hummus…thoughts?

  13. 23

    My first experience with sprouted grains was Ezekiel bread which I’ve grown to love! I also tried some sprouted quinoa at a restaurant in Colorado a few months back and have been wanting to try it at home. Thanks for the tutorial link and for sharing some of the science behind sprouted grains.

  14. 24
    Roadrunner says:

    Thanks! Most informative.

  15. 25

    Biology for the win! :)

  16. 26

    Totally starting to get into sprouted grain…they say it’s magical hah. Thanks for covering it, you’re awesome Anne!

  17. 27

    This cereal looks great! I am a big sprouted grain fan, both sprouting them at home myself and buying sprouted grain flours. I haven’t tried many sprouted grain products though, so maybe this would be a good place to start. Thanks for sharing!

  18. 28

    Great and informative post about sprouted grains. Thanks, Anne! Have you ever sprouted grains at your home? I love how covert the white box is- you’re so lucky to be able to have a sneak preview. Also, seeing your bowl of cereal is giving me cereal cravings. Walnuts + cranberries + cereal = frickin delicious.

  19. 29
    Leonard Chapman says:

    I have tried the Kashi Spouted Grains, very good. Kind of pricey, but you get what you pay for.
    Found it at a Costco store in La Habra, Ca.

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