What are whole grains and what’s all the hubbub anyway? 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 – full of 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. So start swapping out the white stuff and get a whole lot healthier with whole grains!
Most people enjoy bread or grains as part of their breakfast routine. So just opt for whole grain choices like:
- Whole grain cold cereals, some of my favorites come from Nature’s Path.
- Whole grain bagels, English muffins, and waffles
- Whole grain pancakes, including buckwheat, whole wheat, and whole grain with buttermilk
- Granola and breakfast bars mixed with whole grains
Sandwiches are a lunch-time staple! It’s easy, have it on whole wheat next time. There are so many whole grain breads to choose from. If you are watching your carb intake, try whole wheat pita or low-carb whole grain pre-sliced breads. Going out for Japanese? Order the soba or udon noodles that are made from 100% buckwheat.
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.
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? Reach for the whole wheat roll. 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.