New Tasty Ways to Get Your Whole Grains

Did you know that 9 out of 10 Americans fall short of daily whole grain recommendations? There are lots of reasons why it’s important to make at least half your grains whole — from helping to fight heart disease and diabetes to promoting a healthy weight.

It’s easier than ever to get your whole grains with the wider availability of whole-grain breads, pastas, snacks and other products on the market. Some tasty new whole-grain items made Prevention’s list of the healthiest and most delicious packaged foods of 2012.  Wanted to share a few with you.

For side dishes and salads, I typically prefer whole grains like farro, bulgur and quinoa, instead of couscous and orzo (which are pastas instead of grains), but I liked these whole-wheat versions. rice-select-orzo


RiceSelect Whole Wheat Orzo

This may look like rice, but it’s the Italian pasta orzo (which means “barley” in Italian).  Made from whole durum flour, this light 100% whole-wheat pasta cooks in just 8-10 minutes.  Try is as a satisfying side dish (9 g fiber per serving) or use it as a base for Mediterranean-style pasta salad.    [riceselect.com $7.29]

bobs-red-mill-pearl-couscousBob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pearl Couscous

Also known as Israeli couscous, this larger-style couscous is rarely sold in a whole grain form. It’s much easier to find smaller grain whole-wheat couscous; for instance, RiceSelect sells a whole-wheat couscous.  The pearl style as a chewier taste, and I’m sure this whole-wheat version would have a satisfying bite.  I’m eager to try it. A 1/3 cup serving contains 190 calories, 5 g fiber and 7 g protein.  [bobsredmill.com $3.99]

365-organic-rice-lentil-medley365 Rice and Lentil Medley

This brown and wild rice medley is studded with green and red lentils, which adds a lot of protein, fiber and folate.  This would make a great swap for white rice or convenient, nutrient-rich addition to soups and stews. [wholefoodsmarket.com $3.99]

Popcorn is a super whole-grain snack, but here are two other options that received one of the 26 Prevention Healthy Food Awards for 2012.

KIND-peanut-butter-granola

KIND Healthy Grains Peanut Butter Whole Grain Clusters

“You’d be forgiven for treating all granola-like snacks with a ‘been there, done that’ attitude, but we’re glad we checked our preconceptions at the door when we tried these,” according to the Prevention review.  “Packed with whole grains like amaranth, quinoa, and millet, KIND’s grains are also gluten-free! Each crunchy cluster has the perfect hint of peanut butter without overwhelming you with a sugar (or salt) rush. And unlike other granolas filled with fat and sugar, these contain just 3.5 g of fat per serving and 5 g of sugar. We liked it with nut milk, or by the handful as a filling snack.”  [kindsnacks.com $5.99-6.29]

marys-chipotle-tomato-gluten-free-pretzels

Mary’s Gone Crackers Chipotle Tomato Pretzels

Made with a mix of brown rice, quinoa, flax, and sesame seeds, this is not your typical pretzel. One 150-calorie serving adds 4 g of fiber and protein to your daily total, and the chipotle powder gives these bites a burst of south-of-the-border flavor without jacking up the sodium content. [marysgonecrackers.com $4.75]

Breakfast is an ideal time to get your whole grains.  In fact, if you skip whole grains in the morning, you won’t likely make up for the shortage by the end of the day.  I’m especially fond of oatmeal, so I was intrigued to see this award for frozen steel cut oats oatmeal.   gfms-steel-cut-oats

Good Food Made Simple Unsweetened 100% Steel Cut Oats

Here’s what the editors of  Prevention had to say:  “Since steel cut oats typically take 30 minutes to prepare properly, we love this as the ultimate convenience food: It’s pre-cooked, flash-frozen, and can be defrosted in just 3 minutes. Plus, there are no preservatives or artificial flavors: just filtered water, whole grain oats, and sea salt. Spruce up yours with a spoonful of nut butter, a sprinkling of nuts, or chopped fresh fruit.” [goodfoodmadesimple.com $2.50-3.29]

Have you tried any of these products?  What are some of your favorite ways to get your whole grains?

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