Couscous, small granules of semolina flour, is traditional in North African cuisine. It is also available made from whole-wheat flour, which slightly increases the fiber and boosts nutrition in other ways. Whole-wheat couscous may serve as a replacement for pasta or rice as a side dish or in recipes, taking on the flavors of whatever you cook it with.
A 1-cup serving of whole-wheat couscous contains 180 calories. This number accounts for 9 percent of your daily calories when you follow a 2,000-calorie diet. Couscous made from regular flour contains 176 calories per cup. Because couscous does not have much flavor, it is commonly combined with vegetables, herbs and spices, all of which add calories. Adjust your total calories consumed as needed.
Carbohydrates account for the majority of calories in whole-wheat couscous -- 38 grams per 1-cup serving. The Institute of Medicine recommends consuming 130 grams of carbohydrates per day for optimal energy levels. This portion of whole-wheat couscous also provides you with 6 grams of protein.
Additionally, 1 cup of whole wheat couscous gives you 8 percent of your daily recommended intake of iron, a mineral your body requires to manufacture blood cells. A deficiency of iron results in anemia, a condition that presents with fatigue and shortness of breath.
One cup of whole-wheat couscous contains 3 grams of fiber, a benefit of the whole-wheat flour from which this couscous is made. The same portion of couscous from white flour has 2.2 grams. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends you get 20 to 30 grams of fiber each day, concentrating your diet on fiber-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables and whole grains, like whole-grain couscous.
Whole-grain couscous does contain more fat than white flour couscous, but it still contains little fat. A 1-cup serving of the whole wheat variety contains 1 gram. Limit dietary fat to 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories, or 44 to 78 grams, to decrease your risk of obesity and obesity-related health problems.
Whole-grain couscous takes approximately 15 minutes to make. Measure the couscous into a heat-proof bowl, add boiling water in ratio of 3 parts of water to 2 parts of couscous and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. The whole-grain couscous needs just 10 minutes to absorb the boiling water. Fluff with a fork before serving, with or without the addition of vegetables, herbs or spices.
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Nicki Wolf has been writing health and human interest articles since 1986. Her work has been published at various cooking and nutrition websites. Wolf has an extensive background in medical/nutrition writing and online content development in the nonprofit arena. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Temple University.