GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn--September is National Whole Grain Month and although Americans generally eat enough total grains, most of the grains consumed are refined or enriched. The American Heart Association has repeatedly demonstrated that replacing refined carbohydrates with whole grains lowers the risk of stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and inflammation.
Despite the health benefits touted, most of us still struggle to get enough whole grains into our diets. Easy whole grain replacements to familiar foods the whole family eats is a great way to ensure we’re eating more fiber and not missing out on essential nutrients and complex carbohydrates.
Today, the American Heart Association showed us three easy ways to get more whole grains into your lunch in a packable, easy way. Best part? They’re repeatable, simple dishes that even the pickiest of eaters will like. Pack a punch with a whole grain lunch.
1. Barley Vegetable Soup
a. It’s soup season, so try sneaking in grains like barley, wild rice and bulgur into a simple vegetable soup. Pack in a to-go soup thermos and lunch is ready.
2. Simple Quinoa Salad
a. Quinoa is a grain that’s come to the forefront in recent years – and for good reason. Swap this grain for pasta in your favorite recipe to increase the fiber and nutrients.
3. Bento Lunch Box > Whole Grain Wrap + Fruit, Veggies
a. Bento boxes are a great way to pack a lunch that ensures a well-rounded meal. Make a quick whole wheat wrap with cheese and apple, then fill the other spots with vegetables and fruit.
Follow @HeartAssocMN for more heart healthy tips or go to heart.org/recipes