Grains are a staple in many people’s diets and for good reason—they’re delicious, versatile, and accessible. Wheat, oats, corn, rice, pasta, and barley are examples of grains often found in US pantries. Other options like quinoa, farro, amaranth, wheat berries, and sorghum are less common in the US, but are often used in dishes from other regions. While all grains can fit in a healthy diet, some varieties provide more nutrition like fiber, protein, and essential vitamins than others. Read on for our tips on how to add more whole grain and high fiber options to your meals and snacks.
Whole grains contain every part of the grain, including the tough outer layer known as bran, the nutrient-rich germ and the carbohydrate-rich endosperm. Choosing more nutrient-dense whole grain options is important for a healthy diet. Eating them regularly as part of a balanced diet is associated with reducing the risk of many chronic diseases.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that at least half of the grains we eat are whole grains, but very few people meet this recommendation. While people are generally eating more whole grains than they did 20 years ago, the increase has been very modest. So how can we eat more?
Based on a recent survey from the Whole Grains Council, the 4 most enjoyed whole grains in the US are whole wheat, oats, brown rice, and corn. Two ways to add more whole grains to your diet is to mix up how you prepare them and eat them at new meal and snack occasions. Try these tips to eat whole grains that you already enjoy in new ways.
Try making overnight oats using 100% juice and yogurt instead of just milk. This recipe for Blueberry Lemon Overnight Oats is easy and flavorful. Oats also go great in a smoothie, just blend them in with the rest of your ingredients for a thicker and creamier breakfast on the go.
Whole grain breads, rolls, and buns are often the first choices when people add whole grains to their diets. Another way is to choose more snacks made with whole grain. Try Goldfish Baked with Whole Grain crackers, popcorn, or these Late July Multigrain tortilla chips.
If you typically enjoy brown rice as a simple side dish, you may also like it prepared in a mixed dish like this Chicken BLT Skillet. You can also try brown rice noodles in recipes like Zucchini & Eggplant Layered Lasagna—perfect for people following a gluten-free diet that still want to eat more whole grains.
While it’s likely that you have tried or at least seen the more common whole grains mentioned above, there are many other options. Eating different whole grains can add more nutrients, flavor, texture, and variety to your diet. Try these tips for adding whole grains to your meals.
This Italian Quinoa Bake using Prego sauce, veggies, and quinoa is a great example of how you can try a new grain using familiar (and comforting!) flavors.
Want something sweeter? Cook quinoa in water or milk and add nuts and fruit for a satisfying breakfast similar to oatmeal.
Batch cook grains like sorghum, wheat berries, amaranth, and others in Pacific Foods broth. Add to salads, soups, and sides for convenient and satisfying dishes. Try this Mediterranean Sorghum Bone Broth Bowl.
Already hitting your whole grain goals? Pearled or semi-pearled varieties of grains like farro and barley, have part or all of the bran removed. This allows for less cooking time, but they still add positive nutrition to your diet.
Technically, farro is a whole grain, but most of the farro sold in supermarkets is pearled or semi-pearled. Even with some or all of the bran removed, this grain is still high in fiber and a flavorful addition to your meals. Try this Summer Farro Salad as a refreshing and delicious addition to summer meals.
The most common form of barley found on shelves is pearled barley, with all or most of the bran removed. This allows for quicker cook time. Pearled barley provides fiber, vitamins, and minerals. While most think of barley being used in soups and stews, it can be enjoyed in many ways, like in this Mediterranean Barley Salad.
We hope that our tips help you enjoy whole grains more often and experiment with more grain varieties. As you try new options, you may even find a new favorite! Interested in learning more about how to bake with whole grains at home? Check out our article featuring tips from our baking experts at Pepperidge Farm.
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