Are you struggling to eat healthy? If you are, keep reading today’s guest post by Brooke Chaplan for some tips and tricks in getting more whole grains into your diet.
The American Heart Association recommends eating three or more whole-grain foods every day to support a healthy heart, and help prevent some chronic diseases. Whole grains are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and many other important nutrients that have positive health benefits. The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggest many Americans are not getting enough whole grains in their diets. Luckily, there are numerous simple steps that can be taken in order to include more whole grains in your weekly meal plan.
Learn the Facts
Many Americans don’t know the difference between whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel, while refined grains only include part of it. It can sometimes be tricky to determine what foods contain whole grains. Don’t be fooled by terms like “wheat”, “seven-grain”, or “multi-grain”. Check the nutrition facts for ingredients that start with the word “whole”. For example, the ingredient listed as whole-wheat flour would indicate that the food contains whole grains.
Make Simple Changes
Substitute products with refined grains like white flour buns, white rice, regular pasta, and flour tortillas with whole-wheat buns, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, and whole-grain tortillas. Whole-grains cereals are also a great way to start the day. Companies like Klosterman Baking Company make a conscious effort to provide different types of specialty breads. Just keep an eye out for the whole grain options and make buying these products a habit.
Have some fun with your weekly meal planning. Experiment with new food likes Quinoa and wild rice. You may be surprised by how many tasty whole-grain foods there are available. Your family might even like some of these options better.
Mix in Whole Grains
Try to include more whole-grains into the food you already eat. For example, mix in some brown rice or barley to your traditional vegetable soup or beef stew recipes. Small changes can make a big difference.
Cook One Meal for the Entire Week
Cook a large pot of your favorite whole-grain food and keep it tightly stored in the refrigerator so you’ll have it ready to add to whatever else you may be eating. Throughout the week, simply eat a serving of the whole-grain food as an everyday side dish like rice or pasta.
Use Them as a Snack
Many people don’t know that popcorn is a whole grain. While the added salt and butter may not be a healthy choice, the popcorn itself is a great example of a whole-grain food that can be eaten as a snack.
Whole grains are healthy and surprisingly tasty. Incremental changes in your own diet plans can make a huge difference in your overall nutrition. Follow these small steps in order to include more whole grains in your weekly meal plan.
About the Author
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.
Do you have any healthy eating tips to include in this list?