Whole grain foods are fiber-rich and they promote health in many other ways. But most Americans fall short of the US Dietary Guidelines’ recommendation to make at least half of their grain choices whole grains.
You an explore new choices, one step at a time. Here are some tips I’ve shared with patients and ways that I swap out refined grains for delicious whole grain foods:
If your day typically starts with coffee and a donut or even a white flour bagel:
At Home: Try a whole wheat tortilla – Spread on some peanut or other nut butter, add banana or apple slices, roll it up and eat it at home or on your way to work or school.
On Your Way: Choose the oatmeal to go at the coffee shop or fast food drive through. Ask for the nuts, fruit and sugar on the side to keep the calories right for you.
For lunch – whether you bring your own frozen meal or grab a sandwich at the local deli:
Frozen entrée – take a close look when you’re shopping in the freezer aisle and choose one that includes brown rice.
Deli sandwich –ask for whole wheat bread or roll; or look for soup that includes barley or wild rice.
Dinner - this can be a great time to gradually add more whole grains for you and your family:
Spaghetti dinner – cook half whole-wheat thin spaghetti and half white flour spaghetti and top with your favorite sauce.
Try whole grain muffin or cornbread mixes for a great accompaniment to your stew, soup or salad meal.
Who knew that a delicious pasta dish could fit into a cancer-preventive diet? Our Health-e-Recipe for Rigatoni with Red Peppers fortifies with phytochemical-rich vegetables and fiber, which reduces risk of colorectal cancer.
Whole-wheat pasta has fiber plus protective compounds inherent in whole grains. If you can’t find whole-wheat rigatoni for this dish, try a similar type of bite-size whole-grain pasta, such as penne, rotini or macaroni.
Lightly sautéed red onion, red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes and spinach to toss with the pasta. You’ll be getting powerful onion phytochemicals, vitamin C in the peppers and tomatoes and lutein from the spinach, all reinforcing each other with health-protection benefits. They’re a fresh change from bottled pasta sauce. Topped with fresh basil and Parmesan, this dish is a tasty and low-calorie way to welcome the spring.
Our Health-e-Recipe for Winter Bread Salad gives you a heartier kind of salad that’s appealing in cold weather.
Instead of buying croutons, which are usually high in calories and salt, toast some whole-wheat bread cubes. High in cancer-preventive fiber, these homemade croutons will be moistened by the vinaigrette dressing for this salad while keeping their crunch. They also contrast well with the salad’s sweet onion, garlic, tomatoes, celery and romaine lettuce.