A healthful top 10 list

For most folks, this is the time of year when we look to do a little personal overhauling -- like tossing out bad habits and replacing them with better ones. Topping the list may be improving the quality and quantity of the foods we eat. If that's one of your goals for 2005, we've got a suggestion: eat more barley. There are many great reasons for including our favorite grain in your dining repertoire, but for the sake of keeping it simple, we've narrowed down the field to our top 10 reasons. We think you'll agree that eating more barley will turn into a habit that you'll want to keep for a long, long time.

It's easy on the pocketbook
Barley is an economical and delicious way to s-t-r-e-t-c-h favorite recipes such as soups, stews, casseroles and even salads.

It offers whole grain goodness
The USDA 2005 Dietary Guidelines say we should eat three servings of whole grains every day. Lightly pearled barley is whole grain and readily available in many supermarkets. For more information on barley and whole grains, click here.

It's great for the ticker
Barley is an excellent source of soluble fiber which has been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce risks for coronary heart disease.

It'll help keep you regular
Barley also contains insoluble fiber, which has been shown to help the body maintain healthful bowel function.

You can enjoy it all day long
Barley is available in several forms, such as pearled, flour and flakes. So whether it's Barley Pumpkin Waffles for brunch or Barley Salmon Alfredo for a sumptuous supper, you can enjoy this fabulous grain from sun-up to sun-down.

It'll fill you up
Like other high fiber foods, barley provides lots of volume for relatively few calories. It takes longer to digest and leaves you feeling fuller longer. And that means less overeating!

It's a great slow cooker
Slow cooking has come roaring back as a popular meal preparation option. Pearl barley makes an excellent ingredient for slow cooking because it retains its wonderful chewy texture as it simmers away in the crockpot.

It plays well with others
As an ingredient, barley can't be beat. Its mild nutty flavor combines deliciously with a host of other foods.

It can handle a deep freeze
Pearl barley can be cooked ahead of time, stored in an airtight container and refrigerated or frozen for up to a week before using. Tip: It's best to bring cooked and chilled pearl barley back to room temperature before mixing with other ingredients.

Because grandma says so!
Go ahead, ask her. We're sure she'll tell you all about the joys of eating barley from days gone by. And if you're lucky, she may treat you to one of her favorite barley recipes. Better yet, treat yourself and grandma to one of ours. Click on Let's Eat and enjoy!