Including Whole Grains in Your Meals

Whole grains are an essential part of a healthy diet. They contain important nutrients like fiber and B vitamins and are naturally low in fat. Aim for half of your daily grains to be whole grains.

Here are some quick tips to increase the whole grains in your diet:

Increase amounts gradually

  • Try substituting just half of your white bread for whole grain bread or half of your white flour tortillas with whole wheat tortillas or corn tortillas.
  • Consider choosing brown rice instead of white rice when eating out.

Read labels

  • When buying whole grain products, make sure a whole grain is the first ingredient listed. Look for items like whole wheat, brown rice, or oatmeal.
  • Whole grains are a great source of fiber! Check the nutrition label for a fiber content of 10-20% of the daily recommended value.

Try using whole wheat flour in baked goods

  • Start by replacing half of the all-purpose flour in a recipe, and then experiment with more. Whole wheat pastry flour and white whole wheat flour are also good options to try, and can result in a lighter texture.
  • In some recipes (like cookies) oats can make a good flour substitute.

Use a variety of whole grains

  • Use whole grain barley for a cold salad or replace your white rice with brown rice, quinoa, or farro.

When making rice or other whole grains, prepare extra

  • It’s easy to add whole grains to soups and stews or as a base for a quick stir fry dinner.
  • Oatmeal keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week. Warm up leftover oatmeal and top with a banana and peanut butter for an easy breakfast.
  • Freeze leftovers you don’t use right away for up to 6 months.

Popcorn is a whole grain.

Fill small baggies with air- popped popcorn for an easy, on-the-go snack.

What makes a whole grain ‘whole’?

A whole grain contains all three parts of the grain called the bran, germ and endosperm. Refined grains have had portions taken off so that they will cook quicker or have a smoother consistency. Unfortunately, some other nutrients are removed in the processing.