BEEN THERE Brown Rice
DO THIS Amaranth
The ancient Aztecs believed that eating amaranth could give them superpowers, and for good reason: This nutty-tasting grain is one of the only non-meat sources of all nine essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein. The body uses these amino acids to create muscle. Plus, for about the same number of calories as brown rice, you get nearly double the protein and three times as much fiber. "Amaranth is also high in many nutrients that women need, like iron, zinc, and calcium," says Lorna Sass, author of Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way.
SERVING TIP "Amaranth isn't a true grain, but its tiny seeds cook into a fluffy pilaf or polenta-like porridge," says Sass. She recommends boiling 1 cup of amaranth with 1 3/4 cups water, covered, for about 9 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Add a little olive oil, minced parsley, and finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes. (To make porridge, simmer for 20 minutes with 3 cups of water and a pinch of cinnamon.) Popped amaranth also makes a satisfying low-calorie snack: Heat 2 tablespoons in a skillet over high temperature and stir until most of the grains have popped into puffy kernels. Season with sugar and cinnamon.