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11 easy ways to add more wholegrains to your diet

There’s no need to spend any extra time in the kitchen to get the most out of the health benefits wholegrains have to offer. Just follow the handy suggestions we’ve compiled for you.

One small thing: Air-popped popcorn makes a healthy snack as it is low in fat and high in fibre. Just use your seasoning sparingly, and tuck in.

Adding more wholegrains to your family’s meals is a pretty smart move. They are packed with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients needed to keep everyone healthy. Plus, wholegrains offer an excellent source of dietary fibre, which may help reduce your risk of heart disease, some cancers, diabetes and health problems like constipation.

Grains are divided into two subgroups:
Wholegrains – these contain the entire kernel (bran, germ and endosperm).
Refined grains – these have been milled, which means they’ve gone through a process that removes the nutrient-rich bran and germ from the grain.

According to the latest dietary guidelines, half of the grains you eat should be whole. So whenever possible, always choose wholegrains over refined-grain products.

Armed with the knowledge of all their great benefits, incorporating wholegrains into your diet will be as easy as pie (with a nutty-wheat crust, of course). Here’s how:

Substitute refined with wholegrain
  1. When baking – whether it’s biscuits, muffins, bread or pancakes – replace half the white flour with wholewheat flour. Or be adventurous and add up to 20% of another wholegrain flour such as sorghum.
  2. For breakfast, choose a fibre-rich wholegrain cereal, oatmeal or toasted seed loaf. Check the grams of dietary fibre per serving – more fibre will help you feel fuller for longer.
  3. Add half a cup of cooked wheat, wild rice, brown rice, sorghum or barley to your favourite soup.
  4. Add a cup of uncooked oats for each kilo of mincemeat when making meatballs or burger patties – stretch the meat while adding nutrients!
  5. Instead of using regular white pasta, try wholewheat pasta.
  6. Swap white rice for brown or wild rice.
Experiment and try new foods
  1. Have you ever tried Bircher muesli for breakfast? Mix raw whole oats with milk and a pinch of cinnamon, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, add a dollop of yoghurt, grated apple and serve as is, or topped with berries and nuts.
  2. And what about tabbouleh? This Mediterranean dish consists of finely chopped vegetables, plenty of fresh parsley and bulgur wheat, all tossed with lime juice and olive oil.
  3. The next time you make a risotto or pilaf, try a variety of grains instead of white rice. Barley, brown rice, bulgur, millet, quinoa and sorghum are great options.
Sort out lunchboxes and snacks
  1. Plain, air-popped popcorn is a snack you can feel good about – 100% wholegrain and a source of fibre. But steer clear of adding butter, oil and salt; instead, dress up your popcorn with a few shakes of your favourite spice (try cinnamon), a squeeze of lime juice or a sprinkling of grated Parmesan.
  2. Resolve not to buy white bread. Use wholegrain bread, or wholewheat pitas or wraps when you make your children’s school lunches.

If you have a question for our dietitians, click here, or to find a dietitian in your area, visit adsa.org.za. To get in touch with us, email healthhotline@pnp.co.za.

References:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/whole-grains/art-20047826
https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/easy-ways-enjoy-whole-grains
https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/dietary-guidelines-and-myplate/how-to-add-whole-grains-to-your-diet
https://www.eatright.org/food/planning-and-prep/recipes/apple-cinnamon-baked-oatmeal-recipe