Mix in Whole Grains

It’s January, which means it is New Year’s resolution season. You probably have heard coworkers, friends, and family talk about which foods they are cutting out of their diet in order to get back on track after the holiday season. I want to give a gentle nudge during this time of increased attention on what and how we choose to eat: let’s try to focus on eating more nutritious foods, like whole grains, rather than trying to stop eating certain foods or entire food groups altogether. It may sound better to phrase a goal as trying to eat more of something rather than eat less, but I promise it’s not just semantics. Smaller, incremental change is more feasible and supports long-term success.

So, about grains… they are an entire food group in the USDA’s MyPlate and are divided into two subgroups, whole grains and refined grains. To support good nutrition, we should focus on eating more whole grains and fewer refined grains. Whole grains provide many nutrients and health benefits including supporting weight management. The USDA recommends aiming for at least half of all the grains you eat to be whole grains. Many of us underachieve that goal. In the recipes below, you can find some interesting ways to incorporate more whole grains into your diet. I promise it’s possible in more exciting ways than switching to bran cereal or rye crackers. No disrespect, bran cereal and rye crackers!

Toasted Quinoa Salad

Toasted Quinoa Salad

Three Guiding Stars iconThree Guiding Stars indicate the best nutritional value. Never let your salads get boring. This tart salad incorporates quinoa and apple to support your greens with the nutrition and flavor of fruit and whole grain.

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Herbed Chicken Nuggets

Herbed Chicken Nuggets

Three Guiding Stars iconThree Guiding Stars indicate the best nutritional value. Chicken nuggets are a childhood favorite. They’re fun to eat with your fingers and to dip in your favorite sauce.

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Herbed Blue Cheese Dressing

Herbed Blue Cheese Dip

Two Guiding Stars iconTwo Guiding Stars indicate better nutritional value. We recommend a yogurt-based dip like this for a well-balanced condiment that goes perfectly with chicken nuggets and a plate of fresh veggies.

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Brown Rice Pilaf with Asparagus & Mushrooms

Brown Rice Pilaf with Asparagus & Mushrooms

Three Guiding Stars iconThree Guiding Stars indicate the best nutritional value. Brown rice improves the nutrition of a classic pilaf while adding a lovely nuttiness to the flavor which perfectly sets off the earthy flavors of asparagus and mushrooms.

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Black Bean and Quinoa Burger

Black Bean & Quinoa Burger

Two Guiding Stars iconTwo Guiding Stars indicate better nutritional value. Vegetarians rejoice! These are one of the best meatless burgers we’ve tried yet, and they’re only half an hour away. Make this recipe with leftover, chilled quinoa for the firmest texture.

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Oat and Dried Fruit Bars

Oat & Dried Fruit Bars

Two Guiding Stars iconTwo Guiding Stars indicate better nutritional value. Not satisfied with the packaged options for snack bars? This recipe lets you control exactly what goes into your family’s lunchboxes. Made with whole grains and dried fruit, this fiber-filled option will keep them full and their energy high as they go about their days.

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