Tips for Whole Grain Summer Nutrition

Summer has officially started.  Ideas like these from the Whole Grains Council can help power up your favorite summer dishes with the added vitamins, minerals and fiber of whole grains.

Backyard barbecues, pool parties, July 4th celebrations and more bring plenty of fun and opportunities for good food shared with family and friends.  Make the most of your summer fun with food that doesn’t just taste good but also treats you well.  Fresh fruits and vegetables can boost salads, burgers and beach-side snacks.  Lean proteins can take the usual barbecue fare to nutritious new levels while also helping curb hunger.  Whole grains can power up a wide variety of your favorite summer dishes with added vitamins, minerals and fiber.  The Whole Grains Council suggests summer swaps like these:

  1. Veggie Burgers: Most veggie burgers are made with tofu and/or beans. And though we love the taste of those foods, those veggie burgers tend to be bland and lacking in a “crunch” factor. Try adding ½-1 cup of cooked whole grains, like brown rice or quinoa, to your veggie burgers to see how they change the texture and flavor of your burger for the better.  
  2. Picnic Pasta Salad: Pasta salad makes for a delicious entrée or side dish for any summertime picnic. But what tends to happen to that delectable dish is that the pasta soaks up all the dressing, and as a result becomes limp and soggy. The solution: use whole grain pasta! Whole grain pasta has a sturdier texture that will maintain its satisfying bite, even after it is dressed. 
  3. Chips and Dip: Who doesn’t love a good plate of chips and dip?! Just like with the pasta salad problem, regular chips lack the bold flavor and crunch of whole grain chips. Next time you are shopping for chips to serve at a party, go for whole grain pita or whole grain tortilla chips. Whole grain chips have a taste that is far superior to enriched grain varieties and also tend to have an extra crunch, which is exactly what any good chip & dip combo needs.  (Gina Julian, Oldways intern)

Find these and more suggestions for powering up your summer foods with whole grains here.  Leave the work to restaurants during the lazy days of summer with dietitian-recommended menu choices like these coast to coast