We have all heard the recent research on whole grains and how we need to incorporate more whole grain foods into our diets. But how do we do it? How can you change the diet your family is used to to include whole grains, without causing a complete uproar? Try these tips and ideas to start including more whole grains in your diet, without sacrificing your diet’s current taste.
Before you go trying to incorporate more whole grains into your diet, it is very important that you know how to spot whole grains first. To find out if a food really contains whole grains, check the ingredient list. The first and/or second ingredients on the list should include the word “whole.” For instance the ingredient list should read, “whole wheat,” “whole oats,” etc. If the ingredient just says “wheat” or “bran” then it isn’t a whole grain.
Bread. One of the easiest ways to start getting more whole grains in your diet is to change the sandwich bread you buy. You might already be thinking that there is no way your family is willing to switch to whole wheat. The good news is, they don’t have to. There are plenty of great whole grain white breads on the market now. These breads have the taste and texture of white bread, but contain the important nutrition of whole grain bread.
Pasta. There are many whole grain pastas on the market that taste just like regular pasta. Look for whole grain spaghetti, rotini, and even lasagna. If you are afraid your family will be turned off by the slightly different color of whole grain pasta, try tossing your pasta with the sauce before serving it.
Cereal. Traditional breakfast cereal is another easy way to start getting the whole grains you need in your diet. Simply don’t buy any cereals that are not whole grain. Even some very kid friendly cereals now come in whole grain varieties. Just make sure you read that ingredient list.
Tortillas. If you family enjoys eating wraps or Mexican style foods which require tortillas, try out the whole grain varieties available now. Just like the pasta, if you are worried your family will be turned off by the “wheat” look of the tortillas, try such dishes as enchiladas where you can cover the food in a sauce before serving it. Perhaps once your family tries them and likes them, they will be okay eating them without being fooled.
Snacks. Many snack foods such as granola bars and snack crackers now come in whole grain varieties. If you have a favorite snack food that you tend to always keep in the house, try replacing it with a whole grain version and see if anyone even notices the difference.
Baking. If you do any baking in your house, try replacing half of the flour in a particular recipe with whole grain flour. If you are making cookies, quick bread, or another sweet treat it is very likely that no one will ever be able to tell the difference.
Other bread products. Most of the bread products that you purchase, whether it be bagels, English muffins, frozen waffles, or rolls, have whole grain versions available in today’s supermarket. Instead of just grabbing the same brand you always get, try scanning the shelves and reading the labels to see if you can make the change to some more whole grain products.
With a little practice you will quickly change the way you think about purchasing and preparing food with grains. Before long your family will be getting the recommended 2-3 servings of whole grains everyday, without even realizing it.