A few months ago, I found out I have a wheat “sensitivity” – I am not completely allergic, but if I eat too much, I end up with extreme stomach and chest pain. Since this diagnosis, plenty of people have asked me how I work for the Whole Grains Council while avoiding wheat. It’s actually quite lucky that I do, because I have learned from the WGC about all the other grains I can rely on to help me get my recommended amount of whole grains per day. Whether you have a wheat allergy, are avoiding wheat and/or gluten for some other dietary reason, or just want to bust out of your current food routine, fear not; there are plenty of other whole grain options out there.
Breakfast — Oats Oats are pretty mainstream these days, especially when it comes to breakfast. Between cereals like Cheerios and all the different flavors of oatmeal, there are so many options that I never get bored. Plus, studies have shown that oats contain a special kind of fiber called beta-glucan, which is found to be especially effective in lowering cholesterol. There’s nothing like starting the morning off by improving your health! Snack — Popcorn Yes, you read that correctly – popcorn is a whole grain. (Just be careful about slathering it in butter or salt!) In the afternoon, rather than eating crackers or some other wheat snack, I’ll munch on a little popcorn. Just like the oats, there are so many different options out there that I can have as much variety as I need to keep from getting bored with my food. My personal favorite is popcorn with a light cinnamon topping. Check out the WGC’s website to see all the different popcorn flavors registered for the Stamp. (Just don’t ask us for help choosing among all the delicious flavors!) Lunch/Dinner — Quinoa My biggest ally through this ordeal has been quinoa. It turns out this ‘supergrain’ can be combined with corn and made into all kinds of pasta, such as spaghetti and macaroni elbows. I’m a huge pasta fiend, so I cannot get enough of these noodles. They can be combined with all sorts of tasty and nutritious ingredients – I’ve tried everything from tuna to cheese, spaghetti sauce to vegetables. I do not even notice a difference in the noodle taste or texture; in fact, my mom actually makes a dish with quinoa elbows that I’d eaten many times without ever realizing the noodles were not made of wheat. There are also plenty of traditional recipes, like soups and salads.  There is something quinoa out there for everyone! And these are just a few of the possibilities. Just because you cannot eat wheat does not mean you cannot eat plenty of delicious and healthy whole grains. Explore the WGC website and your local grocery store for more grains options.  Enjoy! —Chrisanne

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