Though the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults eat at least three to five servings of whole grains a day and children two to three, most Americans consume one or less. And a whopping 40% of Americans don’t eat whole grains at all!
If you are feeling discouraged at the thought of switching over to whole grains in your diet, start off with small changes and slowly increase your amount of daily servings.
Here are some helpful ideas on how to take “baby steps” to eating more whole grains:
- Buy breakfast cereal with 16 grams or more of whole grains.
- Try making personal pizzas with a whole grain pita as the crust.
- Instead of potatoes for a side, make brown rice or bulgar.
- Start off by mixing together 50% whole wheat pasta and 50% of your regular pasta, then slowly add more whole wheat pasta each time.
- Use whole grain buns for your hamburgers.
- Buy 3 different whole grain bread loaves and try them all to see which one you like the best.
- Make macaroni and cheese with whole grain macaroni.
- Next time you need a snack, make some popcorn. It is a great whole grain snack and needs very little butter or salt.
- Try cooking steel-cut oats in a crockpot.
- Look for the “Whole Grain” stamp while shopping.
Are gluten free products a good choice for whole gains?
Great question! Gluten free foods should only be considered if there is a medical reason provided by a medical doctor or registered dietitian. There are many whole grains that contain gluten and many that are gluten free. The important thing to remember is to look for the words “whole grain” in the ingredient list and consume as many in the whole form, such as brown rice, bulgar, or quinoa, to get the most whole grain benefits.