September is a busy month for food and is the monthly host for additional culinary delights, some of which pair quite nicely with mushrooms. It turns out that September is also National Wild Rice and National Organic Harvest Month. What a great fit if you’re in the mood for celebrating these monthly themes!
Since consumers demand flavorful, nutritious, but easy-to-prepare meals, a mushroom wild rice dish with some seasonal vegetables would be a perfect fit. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t these days?), you already know that Hokto mushrooms require minimal preparation due to no peeling or cleaning necessary, just slice off the mushroom base. And if you still want a balanced meal but don’t have the time to wait for the rice to cook, there are healthy alternatives on the market with pre-cooked options available such as whole grain and wild rice, found in the frozen or packaged food section of your grocer (Jasmine or basmati can also work well with mushrooms). The instant whole grain or wild rice also saves time while contributing significant flavor and nutrition, especially fiber, B vitamins and trace minerals (such as zinc, selenium and chromium).
Most Americans do not get enough fiber or trace minerals in their diet. In fact, the average American today receives less than half of the optimal amount of dietary fiber (averaging only 10 to 12 grams of fiber daily). Kids need fiber too. However, foods like chips, white rice, hamburger buns, pizza crust and cookies are low in fiber (unless of course you like fig bars). National surveys indicate that children and adolescents aren’t meeting guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption, and fried potatoes make up the majority of vegetable servings!
Beans, whole grains and most fruits and vegetables (yes, including mushrooms) are a good source of fiber. So cutting down on the snack foods, meat, dairy products and juice, which are completely devoid of fiber, and increasing the amounts from produce and whole grains like rice is recommended to meet the 25 and 30 grams of fiber daily recommended by the American Diabetes Association and National Cancer Institute for adults. Fiber is important for kids too, with children between the ages of 4 and 13 needing up to 25 grams a day.
A 3.5 ounce serving of Hokto mushrooms provides 3 grams of fiber. Pair that with 1 cup of whole grain or wild rice and you get an additional 3 – 4 grams for the entire tasty meal. Fiber has been shown to increase satiety by slowing the rate that foods are digested, which helps us feel full and eat less. We know that the mushroom’s unique compound, umami, also contributes greatly to a feeling of being satisfied after a meal—which make mushrooms and rice a very nice fit.
So, if you’re weight conscious increasing the daily amount of fiber can help reduce the total amount of calories eaten in a day. And, if you’re health conscious, (remember September is also National Self Improvement Month), know that you’re also reaping the following benefits of adequate fiber:
• Lower incidence of heart disease
• Lower cholesterol
• Reduced rates of cancer
• Improved blood sugar and insulin levels
• Less constipation
• Fewer hemorrhoids and
• Less tendency to gain weight
So, celebrate September with seasonal vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, onions, green beans), toss in Hokto’s specialty mushrooms (available year round), good intentions and enjoy a delicious meal that tastes good and is food for you.
The bottom line: Fiber is good for you. Mushrooms can help.