How to Eat More Whole Grains

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Food Stylist: Jamie KimmProp Stylist: Paige Hicks

Photo by: Christopher Testani

Christopher Testani

Substitute whole grains rich with health benefits in place of white grains stripped of their nutrients. Whether you add them to a hearty breakfast, an easy lunch, dinner for the family or an afternoon snack, whole grains are easy to incorporate into daily recipes. Let the whole grain flavors shine with light seasoning or add them to everyday dishes in creative ways.

Store cooked whole grains in the refrigerator to sprinkle into salads when time is short. Have you tried farro? It's a chewy, nutty grain, similar to brown rice, but the grains are larger. Give it a shot in Guy Fieri’s Far Out Farro Salad, topped with arugula, tomatoes and apples. Spelt — another sweet, nutty and chewy grain — makes an appearance in this Spelt Wheat, Pear and Watercress Salad. Sliced pear and fennel add a fresh crunch, which balances your choice of Gruyere or Gouda cheese. For a more familiar grain, use barley in Food Network Magazine's Barley Salad With Ham and Black-Eyed Peas (pictured above).

Quinoa works well as a side dish, especially this Quinoa Salad With Beets and Fennel Vinaigrette. For vegetarians, quinoa’s high protein content means it brings substance to meatless dishes. Give these Tomatoes Stuffed With Quinoa Salad a try or this Baked Quinoa Casserole With Peruvian Potatoes and Cheese.

Nutty wheat berries are packed with fiber, protein and iron. Giada takes advantage of strawberry season, adding them to her salad of Wheat Berries With Strawberries and Goat Cheese. The flavors of wheat berries are highlighted by earthy rosemary and mushrooms in this Warm Wheat Berry and Mushroom Salad. Sneak whole grains into a chic dinner party appetizer like Alton’s Wheat Berry Tapanade. The whole grain adds a thicker texture to the olive spread, which spruces up bite-size pieces of bread.

Create your own pilaf by cooking your favorite whole grain in broth and seasoning it with spices and cooked onion. Long-grain brown rice pairs well with raisins and apricots for a chewy contrast. The Neelys make their Herbed Brown Rice Pilaf with aromatic garlic, thyme and parsley. Or try this Middle Eastern-inspired Quinoa Pilaf seasoned with artichokes and olives.

Pairing whole grains with dried fruits is a trend among Food Network chefs. Dried apricots jazz up this healthy Barley-Apricot Salad. When the sweet tooth cravings can’t be contained, reach for these Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies; the trio of oatmeal, dried fruit and spices makes these cookies too good to realize they are healthy. Whip up these tasty Coconut and Oatmeal Drop Cookies in just 15 minutes for an easy dessert. Or make this rum-spiked raisin Quinoa Dessert Pudding ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator for a cool treat.

Who would have guessed that popcorn is a source of whole grains? Trade the empty calories of buttery movie-theater popcorn for these gourmet whole grain versions. Ina whips up a Truffled Popcorn in minutes. Seasonings like cinnamon, cumin and paprika make this Party Popcorn a hit.

Rise and shine with a filling whole grain breakfast. Decadent Buckwheat Waffles topped with warm maple syrup will start your day off right. For a weekend brunch, try this Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Casserole with a crunchy pecan and caramelized brown sugar topping.

Incorporate these whole grain recipes into your menu and amp up your intake of nutrients. Whole grains add health benefits whether they are tossed in salads or baked into cookies. Find your favorite way to swap out white grains for their heartier counterparts.

More Whole Grain Recipes:

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