3. Give Whole Wheat Pasta a Try
If you tried whole wheat pasta in the past and didn’t like it, give it another go. “Whole wheat pastas have gotten better and better,” says Michelin-award winning restaurateur and master chef Joe Bastianich, who created New York’s Italian food emporium, Eataly. Whole wheat pasta has up to three times as much fiber as conventional pasta. Because of its lower glycemic index, whole wheat pasta (cooked al dente) can also help keep blood sugar levels from spiking up after a meal.
Since whole wheat pastas typically have a more flavor than white pasta, chefs often recommend using them in heartier dishes, such as mushroom or tomato-based sauces. Bastianich offers another tip. “Remove pasta from boiling water two minutes before it’s tender and add it to the sauce,” he says. “Then cook until tender in the sauce. That way, the pasta absorbs the flavors of the sauce.”
4. Soup Up Your Favorite Soups
Soups are an ideal dish for adding a serving of whole grains, says Cynthia Harriman, director of the nonprofit Whole Grains Council. Barley, bulgur and less well-known grains such as rye berries or sorghum are great choices for chicken, turkey, or vegetable soups.
5. Snack on Whole Grains
One of America’s favorite snacks, popcorn, is a whole grain and a good source of fiber. But don’t stop there. Whole-grain breakfast cereals make a great-tasting and convenient mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. You can also make your own granola with whole oats or other grains, nuts, dried fruit, even bits of dark chocolate.
Another option: make your own power bars. “If you’re cooking oatmeal for breakfast, make a double batch,” says Miller. “Add cinnamon, raisins, and chopped nuts to the left-over oatmeal and pour the mixture into a low baking pan. Once the oatmeal cools, you’ll be able to cut it into bars for snacking.”
6. Add Grains to Your Favorite Desserts
Dessert offers another opportunity for adding whole grains to the menu. Slice fruit, add a dollop of low-fat yogurt, and sprinkle whole oats or toasted wheat berries on top, for instance. Brown rice works well in rice pudding. If you bake pies at home, try replacing some of the flour with whole wheat pastry flour. Sprinkle whole oats on the top of fruit pie crusts. Grains like quinoa and amaranth can also be added to cookie and muffin recipes for added texture, flavor, and nutrition.