According to research data that was recently published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association , Americans are not accepting whole grains into their diets. Less than 5% of Americans 19-50 years old reported eating at least 3 servings of whole grains each day, from surveys carried out between 1999-2004. The first thing that comes to my mind is how far our food supply has come since then – whole grains are now found in many cereals, pastas, and are generally more abundant than they were 10 years ago. However, I have heard from clients who are unsure of how to incorporate more whole grains in their diets, so I’ve compiled a short list below.
- Quinoa. My favorite whole grain, quinoa has found a permanent place in my kitchen over the last few years due to its stellar protein value . Quinoa, pronounced “keen-wa”, has a slightly nutty taste and cooks in about ten minutes. Try: using quinoa as the base for stirfries, or make a whole-grain breakfast bowl with Greek yogurt and fruit!
- Bulgur. Also known as cracked-wheat, bulgur can be found in most bulk-food or baking sections of the grocery store – even try finding it in the cereal/oats section! It also cooks quite quickly, and is extremely versatile when adding it to your meals. Try: tossing bulgur in homemade soup to increase the fiber content, or make it the base for a “salad” of sorts with chicken, black beans, veggies, and salsa on top!
- Whole grain rice and pastas. This is especially where the food industry has come leaps and bounds in terms of what is appearing on the shelves in our supermarkets. Now you can find dozens of different whole grain pastas in front of you, and whole grain rice that doesn’t take as long to cook as it used to. Try: swap your white pasta and rice out for whole grain versions instead, or mix them half-and-half until your family adjusts to the taste!
- Oats. Another one of my faves, a warm bowl of oatmeal is especially comforting as we gear up for these colder mornings. Choose old-fashioned/large flake oats at the supermarkets, or steel-cut oats – which take longer to cook but are wonderfully chewy. Try: making your own oatmeal at home (here’s a fave recipe of mine for Almond-Banana Oatmeal! ), or using oats for half of the flour in your next muffin, bread, or cookie recipe!
Assistance provided by Megan Skinner