Do this one thing 50% of the time

Eat 100% whole grains.  At least half of the time.  Not in addition to refined grains but in place of them.  It’s that simple.

Is it really that important?

Eating whole grains will do a world of good by helping you maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure.  It also reduces the risk for a whole slew of diet related diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel.  All the stuff that’s good for us.  Dietary fiber, minerals, and many of the B vitamins.

Examples include:

  • whole wheat
  • oatmeal
  • bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • whole cornmeal
  • brown rice

Examples of refined grains:

  • white flour (most breads, crackers, pastas, etc.)
  • degerminated cornmeal
  • white rice.

Try this:  Replace one refined grain item at a time with a whole grain variety.  Give the family time to adjust their taste buds before introducing more new foods.

Mix it Up:  In pasta dishes, use half whole wheat and half regular pasta to win over the unconvinced.  Or half brown rice and half white rice.

Experiment:  Use a 50/50 ratio of whole wheat to white flour in baked goods.  I think baked treats, pancakes and pizza dough are a good place to start because sweetener and cheese are good distracters.

Think Outside the Box:  Lots of items come in 100% whole wheat including tortillas, wraps, crackers, cereal, etc.  And there are lots of lesser known whole grain options to try as well:  quinoa, farro, millet and spelt just to name a few.

Repeat to self, “Change is good especially where the health of my family is concerned.”

It’s not the end of the world or even the end of your favorite weekend breakfast scone.  I, for one, would never give up our local bakery’s stellar sourdough bread. I just won’t make it a regularly scheduled part of my day.  It’s a treat.  And when I take that first delectable bite–with real butter–I’ll savor it.

It’s not about giving anything up, except perhaps a dress size or a diet related disease.  And I expect that after a while you’ll come to love whole grains, not just because they’re good for you, but because they taste great.  Remember, it’s a learning curve.

I love the bottom line.  We don’t have to give up our refined pleasures–just moderate them.  You’ll enjoy them all the more because of it.  The goal is 50% of 100% whole grains–or more if you’re really motivated.

This is math even I can do, and that’s saying something.