I'm not gonna lie.  Personally, this week is one of my biggest challenges!  I grew up eating sandwiches made with white Sunbeam bread (do they even still make this any more??!) and eating white rice.  I loved the super soft texture and mild flavor.  Let's face it whole grain has a completely different look and taste, so it's not surprising that this change can be difficult.

This is where I give myself the 80/20 permission.  And by this, I mean, 80% of the time I keep with my real food weekly goals.  More veggies, fruits, whole grains.  Then, if I occasionally enjoy some white bread (sourdough, French bread) or a bit of white rice with my stir fry, I still feel pretty good about my overall food choices.  The majority of my journey is still on track and I know I'll be more successful if I occasionally allow myself the indulgence of a few of broken "rules".

How do you make the switch?  

At my house, I started with pasta.  It was easy to cook half a box of each (half white pasta and half whole wheat) to gradually help my family get used to the whole wheat pasta.  Honestly, this was probably the easiest adjustment.  There was very little difference in the taste and covered with pasta sauce, it could easily be disguised!  haha

Next...the switch to brown rice.  The first thing you'll notice is it takes longer to cook.  If you're busy (as most of us are) it's a good plan to cook enough for more than one dinner.  Leftover rice is easy to warm up, just add a bit of water to keep it moist and heat evenly.  Our family loves the short grain brown rice, but if you're more adventurous, you may want to visit our bulk department where we have several rice varieties to enjoy.  One of the more unique offerings is the purple rice--YES--the water turns dark purple while it cooks and it has a yummy nutty flavor.  

What about baking?  When using whole wheat flour, your baked goods may be a bit heavier and have a more dense texture.  With a little experimentation, you'll be able to figure out the correct adjustments--usually 3/4 cup whole wheat flour for 1 cup of regular all purpose flour.  If you prefer the texture of baked goods made with white flour, you can use white whole wheat flour.  This flour is milled from lighter colored whole wheat grain and performs pretty close to the same as all purpose flour.

And finally you can add quinoa to your cooking repertoire--Quinoa is all the rage and for good reason. Quinoa is a quick cooking, gluten-free whole grain.  It is renowned for its protein content and the fact that it contains the perfect balance of all nine essential amino acids essential for human nutrition.  Not to mention the fact it contains a good dose of fiber and iron!

Benefits of Switching to Whole Grains

According tothe Whole Grain Council, there are many benefits to including whole grains in your diet.  

“Eating the whole grain gives your body extra antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, all of which are essential to good health. Adding whole grains to your diet can significantly lower your risk of chronic diseases and illnesses such as:

  • stroke
  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • inflammatory diseases
  • some cancers
  • high blood pressure
  • Switching to whole grains also helps with weight control.
  • Switching to whole grains also helps with weight control.

    Benefits kick in with even one serving, but aim for three or more servings daily for best health results.”  www.wholegrainscouncil.org

  

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