The Veggie Table: How to Get More Whole Grains in Your Diet
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If you’re following a vegetarian or vegan diet, chances are a good portion of your plate is already made up of grains. But the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that at least half of all the grains you eat are whole grains. What’s so special about whole grains? They’re naturally packed with high amounts of fiber, and micro-nutrients like folic acid, magnesium, and vitamin E. All grains are low in fat and cholesterol free, and they typically have between 5-10 grams of protein per cup, which is great new for those of us following a plant-based diet. All that fiber and protein in whole grains helps to fill us up and keep us satisfied, making them great for weight management. Better yet, they've been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Many people unnecessarily shy away from whole-grains because they’re intimidated by less common varieties like triticale, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah, which is actually from the seed family), bulgur and barley or aren’t sure how to cook them. But it’s easier than ever to get more whole grains in your diet – even if you don’t cook! Many food companies are catching on to the whole-grain trend and are selling pre-cooked whole grains, like Uncle Bens Whole-Grain Brown Ready Rice, Amy’s Frozen Steel Cut Oats, or Trader Joe’s prepared Multigrain Pilaf. Cooking them from scratch is simple, too. Usually all it takes is a 2:1 ratio of water to whole grain on the stove-top, cooked just like you would make rice. Here are some easy (and tasty!) ways to get more whole grains into every meal and snack of your day: