3 Delicious Ways to Get More Whole Grain in Your Life

You’ve heard it over and over: A diet high in whole grain lowers the risk of heart disease and diabetes and helps with weight loss by making you feel fuller after eating.

The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that everyone should consume at least three servings a day of whole grains. But, sadly, the majority of Americans are lucky if they squeeze just one serving into their diet.

Here are three easy ways to get more of the good stuff:

  • Choose whole grain rice and pastas over white.
  • Use whole wheat or whole grain flour when baking (be sure to experiment before substituting all of the white flour in a recipe).
  • Try less common whole grains like barley, bulgur and quinoa.

When picking whole grain foods, remember that just because it’s brown doesn’t mean it’s a whole grain product. Look for foods that list “whole wheat” or another whole grain as the first ingredient and offer five grams or more of dietary fiber per serving. And collect recipes — like these — to inspire you to use whole grains in your meals at home!

Tabbouleh

Serves 6

Tabbouleh is a classic Middle Eastern dish that can be eaten as an appetizer, salad or side dish and pairs nicely with lamb or other Middle Eastern foods.

Tabbouleh Salad

1 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
2 cups hot water
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the bulgur and water in a medium bowl and let stand until most of the water is absorbed but the bulgur is still slightly firm, about 30-40 minutes. Drain off excess water, spoon bulgur into a clean towel and gently squeeze to remove any remaining water.

Return bulgur to the bowl and add remaining ingredients. Stir gently to combine and set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes for the flavors to develop. Taste and adjust seasonings, oil and lemon juice before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Per Serving: 162 Calories; 7g Fat; 4g Protein; 23g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 15mg Sodium

Creamy Chicken Soup with Quinoa

Serves 6

There’s good reason the Incas considered quinoa a superfood — it’s gluten free, high in fiber, high in protein and tastes great. Give your chicken soup a nutritional boost by replacing noodles or white rice with quinoa. This versatile soup can be enhanced with other vegetables as you like — try diced green chiles and corn with a sprinkling of cumin and cayenne pepper for a Southwestern version.

Creamy Chicken Soup  with Quinoa

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 pound diced russet potato, about 1 large potato
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 halves)
1 1/4 cups quinoa
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Heavy cream, optional
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place chicken broth in a large stockpot with the potato and chicken breasts; reduce heat so that the liquid is barely simmering and poach chicken breasts until cooked. Remove chicken to a cutting board to cool; puree the potato and broth.

While chicken cooks, let quinoa soak in hot water for 5 minutes, then drain. Rinse and drain a couple more times until water runs clear. Add quinoa to the soup along with the onion, carrot and celery and cook for 15 minutes. Shred chicken breasts with two forks, then add shredded chicken to the soup and continue cooking until quinoa is tender, about 5 minutes more. If desired, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream to enrich soup, and season to taste with salt and pepper. When refrigerating any leftover soup, the quinoa will absorb much of the chicken broth — either enjoy as is like a hearty chicken stew, or add a little more broth when reheating to restore to a soup.

Per Serving (without cream): 443 Calories; 4g Fat; 46g Protein; 55g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 53mg Cholesterol; 871mg Sodium

Per Serving (with 1/4 cup heavy cream added): 494 Calories; 10g Fat; 47g Protein; 56g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 73mg Cholesterol; 876mg Sodium

Apple Crumble

Serves 8

A crumble is easier to make and healthier than a pie, but just as tasty this dessert boasts a whopping 8 grams of dietary fiber per serving, so indulge without the guilt!

Apple Crumble

6 whole Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup sugar substitute (see note)
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 1/2 cups rolled oats (look for whole oats)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into 1/2" pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss apple slices with sugar substitute, flour, lemon juice and cinnamon and spread in a lightly greased glass baking dish.

Process 1 cup of the whole oats in the food processor to make oat flour, and then mix with the remaining oats, walnuts and brown sugar. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients, leaving a few small lumps of butter in the mixture. When the topping looks crumbly, pour on top of the apples and bake until golden brown and apples are cooked and bubbling, about 45-60 minutes. (Topping will remain loose and crumbly when serving.)

Note: Erythritol is a virtually zero calorie natural sugar alcohol that is used as a sugar substitute. This recipe was tested with Sweet Simplicity Sweetener™ , but any brand of erythritol product may be used in this recipe.

Per Serving: 463 Calories; 23g Fat; 10g Protein; 59g Carbohydrate; 8g Dietary Fiber; 31mg Cholesterol; 142mg Sodium

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