According to the Whole Grain Council, the average American eats less than one serving of whole grains each day.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that all adults make at least one-half of their grains whole, which amounts to three to five servings of whole grains every day.
Why should we care? Whole grains are excellent sources of Vitamin E, B-Vitamins, fiber and the minerals zinc, iron and magnesium. Intake of these nutrients is vital for heart health and a strong immune system.
Here are some simple ways to add whole grains into your diet:
• Try whole grain versions of waffles or pancakes. Buckwheat, oats and whole wheat varieties are all popular.
• Switch to whole grain cereal. These cereals have five grams of fiber or more listed on the label. Whole grain corm, bran, wheat and oat cereals are plentiful on grocery store shelves.
• A breakfast burrito made with whole wheat tortillas, eggs, low-fat cheese and salsa is a tasty way to get your morning started with whole grains.
• French toast, a breakfast favorite, can easily be made with whole grain bread.
• Make your own cereal snack mix. Mix whole grain cereals with dried fruit, seeds and nuts to suit your taste.
• Popcorn is a great whole grain snack when its air-popped. Add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for flavor.
• Use a whole wheat tortilla for a roll-up with peanut butter and thinly sliced fruit such as apples or bananas.
• You can easily add whole grains to your meals often using favorite recipes you’ve always enjoyed. Try new foods and explore new flavors.
• Replace one third of the flour in a recipe with quick oats or old-fashioned oats.
• Add half a cup of cooked bulgur, wild rice, or barley to bread stuffing.
•Add half a cup of cooked wheat berries, wild rice, brown rice, or barley to your favorite canned or home-made soup.
• Add three-quarters of a cup of uncooked oats for each pound of ground beef or turkey when you make meatballs, burgers or meatloaf.
• Make risottos, pilafs and other rice-like dishes with whole grains such as barley, brown rice, bulgur, millet or quinoa.
• Buy whole grain pasta, or one of the blends that’s part whole-grain, part white.
• Try whole grain breads. Kids especially like whole grain pita bread.
• Challenge yourself to make one-half your grain whole grains. You may find a new family favorite!