Here are eight easy ways to work more whole grains into your daily diet:
- Choose whole-grain breads, cereals, English muffins, waffles, bagels, and crackers. Enjoy a sandwich at lunch with two slices of whole-grain bread, or a whole-grain pita or flour tortilla, and you're two-thirds of the way toward meeting your goal.
- Eat popcorn. What could be easier than eating air-popped popcorn as a snack? A study in the 2008 May issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that people who regularly ate popcorn averaged 2.5 servings of whole grains per day, while non-popcorn eaters got less than one serving.
- Make your snacks whole grain. Snacks account for one-third of whole grain consumption - just make sure you choose the right ones. Check the label, because even though it's made with a whole grain, it could still be high in fat, calories, sugar and sodium.
- Start your day with a bowl of whole-grain cereal. Members of the National Weight Control Registry who have lost substantial amounts of weight -- and kept it off -- swear by the importance of eating a nutritious breakfast, such as hot cereal, each day. Keep in mind that even when a product is made from whole grain, it's not necessarily healthy. Read the label and select cereals based on the whole-grain content and amount of sugar it contains. The less sugar, the better.
- Add whole grains to your baked goods. Try blending half whole grain flour with all-purpose flour to boost the whole-grain content of your baked goods. You can also use white hard wheat flour, it makes great tasting bread and your family will not be the wiser. Gradually increase the amount of whole grain in the recipe until it's 100% whole grain.
- Choose brown rice, quinoa and 100% whole grain pasta. Cook up a large batch of brown rice or quinoa and keep it in your refrigerator. They last for 4-5 days and will make side dishes a breeze in the evening just add vegetables and seasonings. Try whole-grain pasta, don't be put off by the dark color it becomes much lighter when it is cooked.
- Experiment with different grains. Try your hand at some of the less-familiar whole grains available. Try risottos, pilafs, whole-grain salads, and other grain dishes made with kamut, millet, quinoa, or sorghum. Add uncooked oats to meatloaf or stir oats into yogurt for crunch and added nutrition.
- Start your kids off right. Expose your kids to whole grains at an early age. For older kids, try the white whole grain flour when baking bread. Serve burgers on whole-grain buns or quinoa with veggies. Add whole grains to soups or dishes like shrimp Creole. Try whole grain pitas as crusts for make-your-own individual pizzas.