Sharon Palmer, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™, is an award-winning food and nutrition expert, journalist, and editor. She is author of The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Health, Beginning Today (The Experiment, 2012) and Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps & 125 Delicious Recipes (The Experiment, 2014). Sharon is also editor of Environmental Nutrition, nutrition editor of Today’s Dietitian, blogger for The Plant-Powered Blog, and publisher of her monthly The Plant-Powered Newsletter.
We are very excited that she is helping us gear up for tomorrow’s Whole Grain Sampling Day with today’s guest blog post. Below, she shares how whole grains can help you be both a healthy and thrifty eater.
Boosting whole grains in your diet is one of the easiest—and most economical—ways you can pump up your health. With every delicious bite, whole grains deliver ﬁber, plant protein, essential vitamins and minerals, and even antioxidant compounds. It’s no wonder a body of science shows that eating more whole grains can reduce the risk of the chronic disease killers of our time, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. A recent study found that eating at least three servings of whole grains every day could lower the risk of cardiovascular disease-related death by 25%.
Looking for more beneﬁts? Eating whole grains, such as whole wheat, oats, and brown rice doesn’t have to bite you in the wallet. Whole grains are easy to prepare, shelf-stable, and budget-friendly. And, not to mention, delicious. The chewy, nutty ﬂavor of whole grains can add depth and intrigue to your favorite meals, such as soups, side-dishes, salads, casseroles, and breads.
Check out my Top 5 Ways to Boost your Diet with Whole Grains:
- Start the Day with Whole Grains. There is no need to miss whole grains at the most important meal of the day, thanks to options like whole grain porridge (think beyond oats; try quinoa, millet, or grits), muﬃns, pancakes, waﬄes, and toast.
- Swap Out Potatoes for Whole Grains. Tired of the same old side-dish? A world of tasty ancient grains awaits you. Try a side of quinoa, farro, sorghum, or barley for a change of pace and ﬁber boost.
- Keep It Intact. The healthiest form of whole grains is their intact, whole form, such as kernels of brown rice, spelt, or wheat berries. You gain the beneﬁts of slow-digesting carbs, protein, and ﬁber, as well as a slew of vitamins and minerals. Try using a rice cooker to easily cook up a batch of whole grains to use throughout the week.
- Toss It Up. One of the best ways to feature whole grains is in salads. Toss cooked bulgur, sorghum, millet, or wild rice into your next salad for ﬂavor, nutrition, and satisfaction.
- Borrow Ethnic Flavors. When it comes to whole grains, cultural traditions around the planet really know how to do it right. Borrow ﬂavor pairings from around the globe, such as brown basmati rice with chickpea masala, quinoa with Peruvian potatoes, and couscous with mint.
Sharon Palmer, Oldways nutrition consultant and Oldways Vegetarian Network advisor