Easy Ways to Get More Whole Grains in Your Diet
Grain is an essential part of any diet, but it’s important to know exactly what kind of grain you’re eating. The process of refining flour strips much of the bran and germ from grain thus reducing its nutrients and minerals. Opting for whole grains allows you to add vital amino acids, vitamins, and fibers to your daily diet, and can even help prevent major diseases like diabetes and cancer if ingested regularly. Here are a few helpful tips for getting more of these beneficial whole grains into your meals.
Know where to look
More often than not, the bread and grain-containing food we buy at our local grocery stores is of the refined variety. Most breads, buns, and even salty crackers and chips are made from cheaper, more shelf stable, but less healthy processed flour. Finding foods made with whole grain will require some close investigation of each food item, and don’t be surprised if you need to read the nutrition facts on bags and boxes.
Never assume that what you’re buying is whole grain; take the time to actually look for proof before you throw that loaf of bread or box of cereal in your cart. While most bread made with whole grain is darker in color than white bread, this isn’t a guaranteed way to tell the difference as caramel color is often added to give the illusion of a healthier product. The key factor is finding out what kind of flour the bread is made from. If the loaf you’re eyeing is made from 100% whole-wheat flour, you’re good to go.
Ease into it
Changing up your diet can be a massive challenge, especially when you’re altering something as fundamental as your grain intake. It’s important to remember that taking things slow in the beginning is not only okay, but recommended. Start by eating a whole-grain version of a food you already eat regularly, like bread or pasta. This gradual introduction of whole grain will help your body acclimate to your new diet, which is a much healthier approach than simply changing your entire diet all at once.
Once you’ve grown accustomed to whole-grain replacements for your favorite meals and snacks, you can begin to add new meals and ingredients to your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Become a bit stricter with the amount of refined grain you eat, and begin cutting other unhealthy foods from your life whenever you feel ready to do so.
Dieting doesn’t have to be a miserable affair. If you approach it in the right way, changing your eating habits can be a fun adventure full of new eating experiences. Try mixing whole grains into various homemade food, like rice and even cookies. Create your own whole-grain recipes, or try baking your own whole-grain bread in the comfort of your own kitchen. Experiment with foods you’ve never tried before, and expand your whole-grain horizons with buckwheat, quinoa, kamut, millet, spelt, and other healthy grains. If you enjoy cooking for family and friends, you can have fun sharing your whole-grain creations at a dinner party or a picnic.
With these helpful tips at your disposal, you’ll be well on your way toward a healthier, more balanced whole-grain diet.
This article is presented by Oliver Ford Lincoln.