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How can I eat more whole grains and unprocessed starches?

Here are some tips to help you eat whole grains:
  • Substitute a whole grain item for a refined product. Choose whole wheat bread instead of white bread.
  • Try brown rice or whole wheat pasta. Brown rice stuffing in baked peppers or tomatoes and whole wheat macaroni in macaroni and cheese make tasty meals.
  • Use whole grains in mixed dishes, such as barley in vegetable soup or stews and bulgur wheat in a casserole or stir-fry.
  • Create a whole grain pilaf with a mixture of barley, wild rice, brown rice, broth and spices. For a special touch, stir in toasted nuts or chopped dried fruit.
  • Substitute whole wheat or oat flour for up to half of the flour in pancake, waffle, muffin or another flour-based recipe.
  • Use whole grain bread or cracker crumbs in meatloaf.
  • Try rolled oats or a crushed, unsweetened whole grain cereal as breading for baked chicken, fish, veal cutlets or eggplant parmesan.
  • Substitute unsweetened, whole grain, ready-to-eat cereal for croutons in a salad or in place of crackers with soup.
  • Freeze leftover cooked brown rice, bulgur or barley. Heat and serve it later as a quick side dish.
This content originally appeared online at Baptist Health South Florida.
Most people have no problem eating enough starches. The trick is to eat more whole grains and other unprocessed starches. Follow these tips:

Read food labels. Although whole grain foods are usually darker and crunchier than refined foods, you can’t always identify them by color and texture. Beware of front labels making claims like “multigrain” or “made with 100% wheat.” These claims can be misleading. Instead, check the ingredient list for the word “whole” -- for example, “whole grain” or “whole oats.”

Find cookbooks or recipes that emphasize whole grains.

Use a pressure cooker to cook whole grains more quickly. Whole grains may take longer to cook than processed grains.

Watch out for “tag-along trouble.” Many whole grain snacks and cereals are high in sugar and fat. Read food labels carefully. Steer clear of grain products made with hydrogenated fats, which contain harmful trans fats.

Branch out with your beans. Try lentils, navy beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), white beans, and black beans.

Try whole grain products you haven’t tried before:
  • Amaranth topped with your favorite tomato-based sauce
  • Barley in soups, stews, or as a side dish
  • Bulgur as a hot cereal or in tabouli salad
  • Whole cornmeal or polenta served as a hot cereal
  • Couscous flavored with raisins, almonds, cinnamon, and ginger for dessert
  • Cracked wheat in whole grain cereals or whole wheat berries
  • Kashi used as a pilaf or hot cereal
  • Millet cooked as a hot cereal or pilaf or as a dessert such as pudding
  • Quinoa served as a pilaf or in chili (be sure to rinse quinoa before cooking)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.