Ten Quick Tips to Get More Whole Grains
Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain is a grain product.
Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits are examples. Grains are divided into two subgroups, whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel – the bran, germ, and endosperm. People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.
Ten quick tips to help you get more whole grains in your diet.
- Simple Switches. To make half of your grains whole grains, substitute a whole-grain product for one of your usual refined grain products. For example, use 100 percent whole-wheat bread or bagels instead of white bread or bagels. Brown rice in place of white rice is another example.
- Try Health Snacks. Popcorn is a whole grain snack and can be very healthy. Make it with little or no added salt or butter.Â Also consider trying 100 percent whole-wheat or rye crackers to munch on.
- Prep Ahead. Save time and cook extra bulgur or barley when you have some spare time. Freeze half to heat and serve later as a quick side dish.
Mix Things Up. Use whole grains in mixed dishes. Barley in vegetable soups or stews and bulgur wheat in casseroles or stir-fries. Try a quinoa salad or pilaf.
- Look For Whole Wheat Versions. Try finding whole-wheat versions of your favorite rice or pasta. For example, brown rice stuffing in baked green peppers or tomatoes, and a whole-wheat macaroni in your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe. Or if that scares you, try half whole grain pasta and half regular until you feel a bit more brave.
- Bake With Whole Grains. Experiment in your baked goods by substituting buckwheat, millet, or oat flour for up to half of the flour in pancakes, waffles, muffins or any other flour based recipe. They may need a bit more leavening in order to rise.
- Set a Good Example. Show your children and other family members that whole grain is good. Eat it yourself and serve it with every day meals and snacks.
- Check Labels for Fiber. Always check the nutrition label for fiber content in whole grain foods. Good sources of fiber contain 10 to 19 percent of the Daily Value; excellent sources contain 20 percent or more.
- Know Your Ingredients. Know what to look for on the ingredients list of the foods you purchase. Choose products that name a whole-grain ingredient first.
- Shop Smart. The color of a food is not an indication that it is a whole grain food. Foods labeled as multi grain, stone-ground, 100 percent wheat, cracked wheat, seven-grain, or bran are usually not 100 percent whole grain products. In fact, they may not contain any grain.