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February 21, 2017 | 3 minute read

How to Choose More Tasty Whole Grains with Your Kids

Whole grains can add fantastic flavor and texture to your meals as well as support long-term health. Eating whole grains promotes healthy digestion, can aid in maintaining a healthy weight, and lower your risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes. Clearly, whole grains beat out refined grains for your family’s health any day of the week. Packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and plant compounds called phytochemicals you can feel good about including them in your family’s diet . So why choose white when you can get the whole health benefits!

For Cancer Prevention Month, why not challenge yourself to try a new whole grain recipe each week? Have your kids help you explore the endless variety of tasty whole grains!

Here are some ways to get started:

  • Choose whole grain mac-n-cheese over white flour pasta. You can also boost fiber by adding pureed sweet potato, chopped sautéed cauliflower or peas.

  • When making cookies or muffins, substitute

    Source: Super Crew Whole-Grain Tracker

    1/3 of the white flour for oat flour. Just blend oats in your blender or food processor to flour consistency. For the remaining flour use whole-wheat or whole-wheat pastry flour. Try making these sweet and delicious whole grain bars.

  • Try making oatmeal pancakes. Substitute 1/3 of the flour in your pancake recipe for oatmeal. These hearty and filling whole-grain pancakes can also be served as a breakfast for dinner meal. Give buckwheat pancakes and waffle a try –they’re our family favorite.
  • Consider investing in a rice cooker. Even inexpensive rice cookers can make it easy to prepare whole grains like teff, farro and oil seeds like quinoa. Don’t stop, with brown rice adding in colorful varieties like -mahogany, red and purple rice. These add new texture and flavor to traditional salads and casseroles dishes.
  • Try whole-wheat pitas or whole-wheat English muffins for pizza night instead or ordering out. Top with sautéed chopped garlic, mushrooms and bell peppers. You can have your kids get creative by making a funny face pizza!
  • Serve fish or chicken dishes over farro with roasted vegetables.
  • Make creamy polenta instead of mash potatoes. Use olive oil, parmesan cheese, coconut milk beverage (low in fat), herbs and spices. Yum! Corn is a flavorsome whole grain.
  • Add barley to your lentil or vegetable soup in place of pasta.
  • Make millet veggie-grain pancakes.
  • Use whole grain breadcrumb when coating baked chicken instead of white flour breadcrumbs.
  • Give sprouted grain breads a chance. Top with low-fat ricotta cheese, raspberry jam, chopped figs and cocoa nibs.
  • Experiment with spelt or other whole-grain pastas in place of traditional semolina. As an incentive try tracking your whole grains with the Super Crew Whole-Grain Tracker.Source: Super Crew Whole-Grain Tracker
  • Choose whole grain tortillas, like corn, oat-wheat or oat-corn combinations instead of white flour for wraps filled with veggies, hummus, lean meat or tofu.

Don’t forget to get the kids involved in cooking. It’s one of the easiest ways to get them to try new foods.

Melissa Halas-Liang is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes educator with a masters in nutrition education. She is founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc., which partners with AICR on the Healthy Kids Today, Prevent Cancer Tomorrow Campaign.

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