Friday, September 25, 2009

8 easy ways to get more whole grains into your diet

Learning to enjoy whole grains 

Here are eight easy ways to work more whole grains into your daily diet:

Learning to enjoy whole grains is simply a matter of retraining your taste buds to become familiar with the fuller, nuttier flavor of the grain, experts say.

Whole grains taste and feel different to the mouth, and therefore it takes time to adjust to these new grains.

1- Choose wholegrain breads, cereals, bagels, and crackers. Enjoy a sandwich at lunch with two slices of whole meal, granary, wheat germ, multigrain, seeded or mixed grain bread; or a whole-wheat pita or wrap, and you're two-thirds of the way towards meeting your goal.

2- Eat popcorn. What could be easier than eating air-popped popcorn as a snack?  Just don’t choose pre-popped corn smothered in fat, sugar or salt.

3- Make your snacks wholegrain. Snacks account for one-third of wholegrain consumption - just make sure you choose the right ones. Try rye crisp bread, wholegrain rice cakes, and oatcakes. Check the label, because even though it is made with a whole grain, it could still be high in fat, calories, and sodium.

4- Start your day with a bowl of wholegrain cereal. But bear in mind that even when a product is made from wholegrain, it's not necessarily healthy. Read the label and select cereal based on the wholegrain content and amount of sugar it contains. The less sugar, the better.

5- Add whole grains to your cakes, pastries and pies. Dietitian Elaine Magee likes to blend half whole meal flour with all-purpose flour to boost the wholegrain content of her baking. You can also use white wheat flour, replace one-third of the flour with wholegrain oats.

6- Choose brown rice and whole wheat or blended pasta. Cook a batch of brown rice and freeze or keep in the fridge for 4-5 days and if time is an issue, there are great ready brown rice products. Try wholegrain pasta, or some of the blended pastas made with a mix of whole and refined grains. Don't be put off by the dark color of wholegrain pasta,that becomes much lighter when it is cooked.

7- Experiment with different grains. Try your hand at some of the less familiar whole grains available. Try risottos, pilaus, wholegrain salads, and other grain dishes made with barley, brown rice, millet, quinoa, or sorghum, Magee suggests. Add barley to tinned soup, then boil to cook the barley. Stir oats into yoghurt for crunch and added nutrition.

8- Start your children off healthily: Start off young children with a diet of all whole grains, for older children, try the white whole-wheat flour, and incorporate whole grains into foods that have other flavors: burgers with wholegrain buns, brown rice medley with vegetables, in soups, whole wheat pittas as crusts for make-your-own individual pizzas.

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