5 Easy Ways to Eat More Whole Grains

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Dried Rice and BeansWhat are whole grains and what’s all the hubbub anyway? We all know that white processed breads and other packaged goods not only are devoid of nutrients but they also tend to be high in the “fat stuff” like processed sugars, preservatives and artificial fillers.

If you don’t have issues with gluten you should first opt for the whole grain itself (like brown rice, farro, and quinoa). The “whole grain” is the seed or kernel of a plant in its complete form. Grains have three parts, the endosperm which contains starch and protein, the bran – rich in fiber, minerals, and phytonutrients, and the germ – that contains B vitamins, vitamin E and other antioxidants and minerals. “White” or refined grains like white flours and white rice are stripped of their most nutritious parts when they take away the bran and sometimes the germ.

How can you get more whole grains into your diet? It’s easier than ever before even if you don’t cook. It’s all about choice – and there are so many new, deliciously healthy whole grain products out there but look for ones with minimal processing by looking at the ingredient list. Another consideration is to go organic with your whole grains, since many grains like wheat and corn are genetically modified which can mean trouble for your gut health. Going organic with grains also means you avoid the pesticides used in conventional farming.

So start swapping out the white stuff and get a whole lot healthier with whole grains!

1. Breakfast

Most people enjoy bread or grains as part of their breakfast routine. So just opt for whole grain choices like:

2. Lunch

Sandwiches are a lunch-time staple! It’s easy, have it on whole wheat next time. There are so many cleaner whole grain breads and gluten free breads to choose from. If you are watching your carb intake, try a carb balance or low-carb tortilla or for a super low-carb option, use a steamed collard leaf. Going out for Japanese? Order the soba noodles that are made from 100% buckwheat or ask for your sushi with short grain brown rice. If you’re headed to the Deli or any chain restaurant, instead of hitting the bread basket, order a side of steamed brown rice or quinoa to toss with your greens.

3. Dinner

I’m a huge pasta fan, but I try to make it whole grain whenever possible. My two favorite brands are Barilla Plus and Farro Pasta by Rustichella d’Abruzzo because they are as soft and tender as white pasta. Skip the take-out pizza and make your own with a store-bought whole wheat pizza shell that you can store in your freezer. Love your sweets? Bake your favorite cakes, cookies, and brownies with whole grain flours, like wheat and oat flour. Try my zucchini brownies with oat flour.

4. Snacktime

Get the munchies at work? Whole grains fill you up since they are high in fiber so reach for a bag of whole grain crackers, home-made popcorn, or whole wheat pretzels to curb your crave.

5. Eating out

Can’t help getting Chinese take-out tonight? Opt for steamed brown rice that’s chewy, satisfying, and full of fiber. Can’t avoid the breadbasket? Ask the waiter to take it away and order a soup or small salad. These appetizers will arrive quickly since they are pre-made and won’t spoil your appetite for the main course that will likely contain a carb anyway. Having an upscale dining experience? Ask your waiter – I bet they have some whole grain choices on the menu like farro, quinoa, or black rice.

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