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Beyond bread: 7 ways to enjoy whole grains
March 2, 2023—When it comes to food powerhouses, whole grains check plenty of boxes. They contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that keep your skin and hair healthy and your body humming along. The fiber in whole grains helps digestion and can help control your blood glucose and cholesterol levels.
Explore your options
So how can you put more whole grains on the menu? It may be easier than you’d expect—and there’s a wide range of grains to try. Fiber-rich whole grains include:
- Brown rice.
- Corn and cornmeal.
- Rolled or steel-cut oats.
- Whole wheat.
Find a new favorite
As part of a healthy diet, aim to make at least half of the grains you eat whole grains. Looking for some fresh ways to get more grains? These ideas can help.
- Add oatmeal as a binder for meatloaf or burgers.
- Choose pasta that includes whole-grain flours like whole wheat, amaranth or quinoa. Experiment to see which sauces work the best.
- Dish up a grain bowl: Fill a bowl with a tasty grain—such as barley, farro or wild rice—and add sautéed or raw veggies, pickles, a protein of your choice, and your favorite dressing or a dollop of herb-filled Greek yogurt. Add hot sauce to taste!
- Make heartier soups by adding barley, corn or brown rice.
- Wrap up a healthy lunch by making veggie wraps with whole-grain tortillas.
- Start your day off right with hot oatmeal or cold whole-grain cereals. Whole-grain pancake mixes are also delicious and nutritious.
- Use whole-wheat flour in your home-baked goods. Tip: Use white whole-wheat flour, which is made of white whole-wheat kernels. It has a milder taste and lighter texture than regular whole-wheat flour.
Whole-grain bread is a great way to make simple sandwiches healthier. But choosing the right one means decoding the labels. Here's what to keep in mind.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "5 Whole Grains to Keep Your Family Healthy." https://www.eatright.org/food/food-groups/grains/5-whole-grains-to-keep-your-family-healthy.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "What Is a Whole Grain." https://www.eatright.org/food/food-groups/grains/what-is-a-whole-grain.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "White Whole-Wheat Flour Tasty and Nutritious." https://www.eatright.org/food/food-groups/grains/white-whole-wheat-flour-tasty-and-nutritious.
- American Heart Association. "Whole Grains, Refined Grains, and Dietary Fiber." https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/whole-grains-refined-grains-and-dietary-fiber.
- MyPlate, U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Grains." https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/grains.
- MyPlate, U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Make Half Your Grains Whole Grains." https://www.myplate.gov/tip-sheet/make-half-your-grains-whole-grains.