Tuesday, April 5, 2011

HealthiFood Cooking Tip: Whole Grains

Why whole grains? And, more importantly, how?

Whole grains are a healthier choice in grains. Whole grains are usually brown--brown flour, brown rice, etc. Whole grains are encouraged in a healthy diet because they are a good source of fiber and are not refined, which is more natural. Refined grains and foods are too easy for your body to digest, which means your digestive system doesn't get the healthy workout it needs and you are able to imbibe more calories with less work.

Image from Microsoft clip art.
And how do you get your family to eat them? Start small. For example, start by using whole wheat bread for French toast. It's already coated with a yummy batter and doused in syrup, so your family will probably tolerate it. You can start making your own bread and using a small percentage of wheat flour--like half a cup--and move up to several cups or all whole wheat flour per recipe gradually. Use this same gradual system with all your recipes that use flour until you are using as much whole wheat flour as your family will eat.

The same trick works with brown rice. Start with mixing a little brown rice with your white rice. Start with just a third brown and the rest white. Then gradually move up to half brown, three-quarters brown, and then all brown. Did you know that white rice has no fiber per serving? You want the benefits of brown rice in your meals! And don't forget to soak your brown rice before you cook it.

Whole grain pasta is also an option, but be sure to buy it on sale as it's more expensive. Again, start with mixing half whole-wheat spaghetti and half regular and gradually move up to as much whole grain content as your family will allow.

 In choosing whole grains to feed your family, keep in mind that oatmeal and yellow corn meal are also whole grains. If you make oatmeal or corn bread regularly, you may be doing better than you think!

You'll notice in my recipes that sometimes I use all whole wheat flour and sometimes I use just part. The proportions of whole wheat and white flour in my recipes are the amounts that my family will eat.

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