Most articles you read about healthy nutrition mention the benefits of eating a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, with some low-fat dairy, and healthy fats, particularly those contained in nuts. Often, foods rich in whole grains will keep you feeling fuller longer. So, indirectly, increasing your whole grains may help you to lose weight if it helps you to decrease total calorie intake. In addition to fiber, whole grains also provide other nutrients, vitamins and minerals. The high fiber content in particular may reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
How exactly can you add more whole grains to your diet? Here are some suggestions adapted from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website, www.eatright.org:
— Start your day with oatmeal or another whole grain breakfast cereal. Steel cut oats are preferable to rolled oats, but either is better than a pastry and coffee! Top your oatmeal with berries and a handful of nuts and you’ll be set for the morning.
— Whole grain breads – note that ‘multigrain’ does not mean the same thing as whole grain. The designation of whole grain means that the entire kernel – the bran, germ and endosperm – are all included, and provides extra nutritional benefit. Look specifically for ‘whole grain’ on the label.
— Add brown rice to stir fry or steamed vegetables.
— Have tuna or salad or peanut butter on a whole wheat pita.
— Use different grains than you’re accustomed to — try wheatberry, quinoa, bulgur, buckwheat, whole rye, or barley. Stay tuned for more about freekeh, made from young wheat that is harvested while it is still green and is high in anti-oxidants. I’ll be trying it this week! With any of these, you can cook enough for side dishes for several meals and use it over the course of the week.
— Enjoy whole grains as a snack. Three cups of whole-grain, air-popped popcorn contains 3.5 grams of fiber and only 95 calories. Be on the lookout for salt or butter. Try 100% whole-wheat or rye crackers for another crunchy option.
— Add oatmeal to your favorite chocolate chip cookies!
The whole grains provide fiber, vitamins and minerals which can have a positive impact on your health. Try to increase your intake, but if you’re a beginner at this, take it slowly, so your digestive system can gradually get used to it.
We welcome any other suggestions you may have!
Tags: whole grains, quinoa