Don’t Give Up the Grains

Instead of giving up all grains to lose weight, choose whole grains to boost your weight loss and performance.  These recipes can help get you started.

If weight loss is your goal, whether it’s to feel more confident or on the recommendation of your doctor, adding the right foods is a must.  That’s right, we said adding, not cutting.  That includes adding whole grains in all ways, shapes and forms.

Too many carbs, you say?  Those power-packed carbs aren’t just one of the hottest food trends.  Right now, they may just be your new best friend when it comes to losing weight.

Brown rice, quinoa, barley, amaranth and similar whole (not refined) grains are loaded with fiber, folate, iron and B vitamins to help steady blood sugar, manage food cravings, support metabolism and keep hunger at bay.  They have also been linked to (among other things):

Start by swapping out refined choices for more whole grain options.  Instead of the same old spaghetti, make it whole wheat.  Go wild with black or brown rice instead of white.  Even your sandwiches can get a health-friendly boost when you swap your usual white bread for whole wheat.

These whole grain swaps can do double duty, too!  Not only can they help you manage hunger; these quality carbs can add more energy to your day.  More energy powering your walks, workouts and other movement can equate to more calories burned!

Want more ideas to add whole grains to your life for lasting weight loss?  Our friends at the Whole Grains Council have a wealth of resources including the latest researchwhole grains basics and recipes for every meal and occasion.

These recipes from the Whole Grains Council and others will get you started:

  1. Skip the same old salad – This Cracked Wheat Salad with Nectarines, Parsley, and Pistachios recipe can help you mix up your diet routine.
  2. Add some excitement to the usual sides – These whole grain risotto recipes from nutrition experts and chefs will get your creativity flowing.
  3. Say goodbye to boring breakfast – Give overnight oatmeal a try.  Not wild enough for you?  Substitute quinoa for the oatmeal, and you’ll feel like a trendsetter as you eat your way to a healthier weight.
  4. Go beyond the old standards – Barley isn’t just for soup anymore. Try this Bacon Sauteed Barley with Arugula for greens and grains in one tasty dish.
  5. Wrap that ‘wich – Add flavor and fiber to your next sandwich with a whole wheat wrap or bread.  Get more diet-friendly sandwich tips here.
  6. Power your pizza – It’s as simple as asking for whole wheat crust to add more flavor and nutrition.  That, plus loads of veggies can help support your weight loss goals.

Salads, sides, entrées, soups, baked goods and more can take on a whole new life and flavor when you add whole grains… and we all know that keeping your diet fresh, flavorful and interesting is a big key to weight loss for the long term.

How do you use whole grains to add interest and nutrition to your diet?

Healthy Dining’s team of registered dietitians has done the work for you!  Find menu choices made with whole grains at participating restaurants nationwide to get more ideas for home.  Here are just a few menu choices our dietitians recommend that feature whole grains: