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Barley for Quick, Healthy Weight Loss

Written by Sky Taylor, Diet Bites

Barley makes an excellent addition to the daily diet and can assist in weight loss, as well as weight management*.

Calories in Barley

One cup of cooked barley contains a skinny 193 calories, a big 6 grams of fiber, 3.55 grams of protein, 17 mg of calcium, 2.09 mg of iron, over 3 mg's of niacin, 21 mg of choline*, and 13.5 mcg of selenium*. It's also virtually void of fat, containing only 0.69 grams of total fat.

Diet Bites has three, quick and delicious, low calorie barley recipes that we hope you'll enjoy.

We highly recommend preparing barley in advance and storing in a sealed container in your fridge for up to one week, or as indicated on the box.

Barley adds a dose of instant health when added on top of cold salads, when mixed into prepared salads - such as three bean salad, or when added to the soup pot.

Quick, Low Calorie Barley Recipe #1

Measure out 1 cup of cooked barley and heat in the microwave, if necessary. Add 1/2 cup of skim or reduced fat milk, a dash of Splenda (or use sugar if you prefer), and a sprinkle or two of ground cinnamon. We also like just a dash of ground nutmeg added.

If using Splenda, this quick barley recipe contains about 250 calories.

To take this low calorie recipe up a notch, add 2 pecan halves (hulled, of course! and pinch the nuts into bits as you add to the barley).  

Also add any of the following dried fruits: apricot bits, golden raisins, dark raisins or dried cranberries.

Quick, Low Calorie Barley Recipe #2

Simply take your favorite soup recipe OR use canned soup and add a 1/4 cup of barley to your bowl. There are several recipes at Diet Bites for soup located here. And below is our low calorie recipe for Beef & Barley soup.

Ingredients for Beef & Barley Soup, a Diet Soup Recipe

3 ounces of your favorite lean cut of beef, visible fat removed - cubed
1/4 cup of Chopped Onions, any variety
2 cup of prepared barley
1 cup of carrots, Julian-style
Beef Broth - 1 can (or use beef bouillon cubes using 1 cube per cup of water)
Salt & Pepper to suit personal taste (always do a taste-test as the added broth/bouillon tend to be sufficiently salty)

Directions for Preparing Beef & Barley Soup, a Diet Soup Recipe

Use a 2 quart, deep pot to prepare soup. Using a bit of cooking spray, cook the beef with the onions, allowing it to adhere to the pan only slightly. Quickly add 3 cups of water and a rich broth should form. Add the carrots and allow to cook until tender. Add the beef broth and the barley. Serve with cornbread muffins.

Quick, Low Calorie Barley Recipe #3

Barley also goes well in dessert recipes, adding moistness along with nutritional values. When using in home recipes, always add cooked barley to the recipe. One of our favorite desserts is Barley Boo Pudding.

And it's easy and simple, too. Take 1 cup of cooked barley and set to the side. In a small non-stick pan, add 2 cups of skim or reduced calorie milk and bring to a boil - or cook in your microwave if you prefer.

While the milk is cooking, add 1 Tablespoonof cornstarch to just a bit of water and stir. The cornstarch will quickly turn to a paste, then a white liquid. Add this to the milk and remove from heat as a custard forms.

Add a bit of ground cinnamon, a splash of vanilla and just a dash of nutmeg. Add the barley. Spoon into serving dishes and cool completely. Top with light whipped topping if desired. Raisins also compliment this recipe well.

* Celiac Disease & Barley

Barley cannot be enjoyed by everyone. Exceptions include those with celiac disease (also commonly known as sprue), an autoimmune disorder in which consumption of the protein gluten found in barley (as well as wheat and rye) causes the immune system to inflict damage on the small intestine, making it incapable of absorbing nutrients.

Celiac disease is a genetic disease that often initiates after surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, a viral infection or amidextreme stress.

* Choline in the Daily Diet

Choline is a complex water-soluble B vitamin essential in the metabolism of fat and is frequently pushed in diet supplements as a cure-all for weight loss.

Currently, there is not substantial data to support use of choline as an effective weight loss supplement.

However, consuming natural foods rich in choline can assist the body in the metabolism of fat - foods like delicious barley.

* Selenium in the Daily Diet

Although it only takes a small amount of selenium in the daily diet to maintain good health, selenium deficiencies are associated with the following diseases:

- Keshan Disease occurring in selenium-deficient children which results in an enlarged heart and poor heart function;
- Kashin-Beck Disease, resulting in osteoarthropathy;
- Myxedematous Endemic Cretinism, resulting in mental retardation.

Daily Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for Selenium for Children & Adults

Males and Females
1-3 years of age 20 N/A N/A
4-8 years of age 30 N/A N/A
9-13 years of age 40 N/A N/A
14-18 years of age 55 60 70
19 years + 55 60 70

While getting sufficient selenium in the diet, getting too much can also result in adverse effects including hair loss, digestive upset, white blotchy nails, garlic breath odor, fatigue, irritability and mild nerve damage.

Tolerable Upper Intake Levels for Selenium

Age Males and Females
0 - 6 months old 45
7 - 12 months old 60
1-3 years of age 90
4-8 years of age 150
9-13 years of age 280
14-18 years of age 400
19 years + 400

Low levels of selenium in the blood have been associated with higher risks for heart disease, arthritis, and many forms of cancer but always check with your doctor before taking vitamin supplements which can end up doing more harm than good.

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