The message to eat more whole grains is now a familiar piece of nutrition advice to most Americans. It has been reinforced in each update of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans since the year 2000 and is prominently featured in the new MyPlate food plan. The food industry has also done its part by offering a wide assortment of whole grains choices to cover everything from cereals to snacks and side dishes.
The only challenge left is helping consumers incorporate more of these whole grain foods into their everyday meals.
The top 3 reasons I have heard from my clients for not eating enough whole grains are:
- They’re not always available when eating out
- I don’t always have a grain food with my meals
- I don’t like the taste and texture of whole grains foods
While nothing could be easier than eating a serving of whole grain cereal for breakfast, a sandwich made on whole wheat bread for lunch and a stir fry over brown rice for dinner to get 4-5 servings of whole grains in one day, that menu doesn’t work every day of the week.
For those situations, some stealth solutions are needed. That means making simple substitutions in how food is prepared at home to make whole grains available at every meal and snack to increase their consumption throughout the week. What makes them stealth solutions is that they look and taste as good as the foods they’re replacing and can save money, too!
15 Stealth Solutions to Boost Whole Grain Intake
- Cube whole wheat or rye bread, brush with olive oil, season, and bake for crunchy croutons
- Crumble stale cornbread to make a country-style poultry stuffing
- Save whole wheat bread crusts and ends in the freezer, then use to make bread crumbs
- Slice day-old whole wheat baguettes, spray with olive oil, and bake for use with hummus and other spreads
- Prepare individualized pizzas using whole wheat pitas as the crust
- Cut corn tortillas into 6 pieces and crisp in a hot oven to enjoy with salsa
- Replace bread crumbs with rolled oats in meatloaf and meatballs
- Crush leftover whole grain cereal flakes and nuggets to stir into muffin batters instead of some flour or nuts
- Combine whole grain pretzel and cracker crumbs to use as a coating for fish and poultry
- Use white whole wheat bread to make French toast, and make extra to freeze
- Stretch tuna and chicken salad by adding some chilled brown rice
- Create a mixed-grain pilaf using brown rice, barley, and wild rice
- Use whole wheat couscous in place of noodles in soups
- Make risotto from barley instead of short-grained round rice for its creamy, chewy texture
- Mix cornmeal or oat flour into pancake batter for added flavor