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5 Healthy ways to add whole grains to your day

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

Eat more whole grains

Whole grains give you heaping doses of fiber, vitamins, minerals and the energy to conquer the world. But let's be honest. Sometimes it's just easier to pop a waffle in the toaster and be on your way. So how can you easily add whole grains to your diet? Here are five delicious ways to add whole grains throughout your day.

Woman eating steel cut oatmeal

Breakfast

Start your day with a healthy, high fiber breakfast like oatmeal. If you love the taste and texture of steel cut oats but never have time to prepare them during the week, try this quick cook method: Bring steel cut oats to a boil for one minute before going to bed, then shut off the heat and let your oats soak in a covered pot of water overnight. This way, you can cook your oats in about 10 minutes in the morning, instead of the usual 30 minutes.

Back to school breakfast grains on the go >>

Morning snack

When hunger strikes, be prepared with a cup of yogurt and some nutty granola to sprinkle on top. Instead of going for store-bought granola which often packs in the sugar, try making your own homemade granola -- sweetened with honey or agave

California walnut granola recipe >>

Lunch

Keep things light by having a sandwich on whole grain bread. For high fiber with low calories, try one of the "thin" varieties of sandwich bread or bagels.

Afternoon snack

Pop up a crunchy mid-afternoon snack by making your own microwave popcorn. Pour a thin layer of popcorn kernels in a brown paper bag and fold over at the top. Set your microwave for two minutes. When the popping slows, take out your kernels and top with salt and melted butter to taste.

Dinner

Try a new whole grain at dinner. Barley, quinoa, and farro are all excellent choices. We can't get enough of this hearty, flavorful farro dish, which can be served as a side or as a main dish.

Warm farro with roasted vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 6-8 cremini mushrooms
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 of a small head of black Tuscan kale, chopped
  • 1 cup farro

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine everything except the farro and kale in a shallow roasting pan lined with parchment paper. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast for 10 minutes. Add the kale to the pan, toss to get it covered in oil and cook everything for another 15 minutes.
  3. While the vegetables are roasting, rinse the farro and cook according to package directions.
  4. Combine the cooked farro and vegetables and serve.

Recipe adapted from Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Fontina

Family-friendly vegetarian dinners >>

Watch: Whole grains 101

Ready to enjoy some great grains? Laura Marzan from Better TV shows you how to make a few recipes using whole grains, including wheat berry, bulgur and steel cut oats.

More healthy eating tips

How to choose the healthiest whole grains
Women's health: 5 Best foods to fight disease
Fill up on these fiber-rich foods and eat less

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