A few months ago my nutrition-savvy coworker started eating these breads and chips that are made with sprouted grains instead of regular wheat flour. She swears these products are more nutrient-dense and easier to digest. At first I thought she was crazy, but now she’s down 18 pounds! Do you think the switch can work for me?

Absolutely! Dozens of new sprouted-grain products have been popping up in pasta, bread, cereal and snack aisles of grocery stores because these hearty, whole-grain foods allow many women to enjoy their carbs and lose weight, too. The reason: They’re made from wheat berries and other grains and legumes that have been soaked in water and given time to “sprout” into enzyme-rich living plants before they are ground up into flour.

Why it’s a plus for your waistline: During the germination process, the outer bran layer of the grain splits open the beginnings of young shoots pop out. This transformation breaks down starches, activates fat-burning enzymes, increases the bioavailability of metabolism-revving minerals and boosts the protein and nutrient content of the grain. In fact, some studies show that sprouted grains contain fewer carbs, 50 percent more protein and 300 percent more vitamin C and B2 calorie for calories, compared with unsprouted grains.

To get the perks, look for pastas, breads and snacks made by brands that use 100% sprouted organic grains. I like Ezekial Foods bread and wraps, Essential Eating pastas, Way Better Snacks chips, Unique Pretzels and TruRoots Qookies.

Another smart strategy: Sprout your own wheat berries, brown rice or beans at home. To do, place ½ cup of dry grains in a large jar, cover with warm water and soak overnight; the next day, strain and rinse grains. Continue rinsing and straining once a day for 2 to 4 days, until sprouts form. Then enjoy sprouts raw on salad or cook as usual.


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