FOOD | 9.17.15 | by Julie Rhodins
We are always looking to add more whole grains into our families’ diets. But we try to do it without screaming ‘here is the whole grain!’ Although it’s a trial and error process, we have found some tricks and tips that we’d like to share. And so we’ve packaged them up into a “15 Meals” format that shows you how to add whole grains to your diet — it’s easier than you think. Have fun!
Read on for 15 Family Meals That Add More Whole Grains ⬇
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15 Family Meals That Add More Whole Grains
1. Whole Grain Spaghetti with Fruit and Salad – whole grain pasta tends to taste “thicker” and “chunckier” which is why we like to use the thin spaghetti choice. The lighter sides are a nice contrast.
2. Soup with Whole Grain Specialty Bread – get out of the same-ness bread aisle and check out the bread varieties in the deli-bread section of your supermarket where you’ll find lots of specialty breads with unique whole grain combos. Your local farmer’s market or mom-and-pop bakery often have whole grain bread options as well, in yummy new flavors. Make it an adventure to try new breads.
3. Greek yogurt and whole grain bread topped with banana slices and peanut butter – we love this as a protein and fiber-packed breakfast meal idea that the kids would love. When you’re out purchasing bread, look for packaging that says “whole grain.” Whole wheat, rye, and oats are common forms of whole grain often found in breads.
4. Whole wheat quesadillas with homemade pico de gallo (fresh salsa) – this is super easy. You’re just making a choice at the grocery store to purchase a whole wheat tortilla instead of a white four tortilla. Here’s how to make the fresh salsa (pico de gallo).
5. Oven-roasted chicken, green beans, and cornbread – make the homemade cornbread with organic whole sweet corn kernels blended into the batter to get the whole grain.
6. Rolled oats with greek yogurt and fresh fruit – another breakfast or light dinner idea. Add 1-3 tablespoons of plain rolled oats (no sugar added type) and chopped fresh fruit to the yogurt. We like plain Greek yogurt because it doesn’t have added sugar and the fresh fruit tends to be all we need. But you could also drizzle some locally made honey for some added sweetness if you need it. Find local honey at localharvest.org by typing in where you live.
7. Hummus and veggies in a pita bread with soup – we love this fast-and-easy pita stuffing recipe. You could delete items or substitute depending on what your family likes. Whole wheat pita bread is fairly easy to find.
8. Baked potatoes with whole kernel corn topping – baked potatoes are such an easy family meal. You can put the potatoes in the oven at 4 p.m. and have them ready by 6 p.m. with only 10-15 minutes needed to pull together the toppings. When you add organic whole sweet corn kernels as one of the toppings, then you get your whole grains! Other toppings could include chopped black olives, broccoli florets, diced tomatoes, black beans, shredded cheese, salsa, diced red onion, sour cream. What toppings does your family like?
9. Grilled cheese with a side of beans and salad – you’re going to use whole wheat bread for the grilled cheese sandwich. Our most favorite grilled cheese twist is to put a thin slice of granny or golden delicious apple in the grilled cheese sandwich before you grill. Kids love it! And it gets in that extra bit of produce.
10. Veggie lasagne with whole wheat garlic bread – it may take a little looking, but the goal is to find a whole-grain, un-cut long loaf of French-type bread. Your local bakery might carry it, or even your supermarket’s deli bread section. Then, you generously spread softened butter (we prefer butter over spreads because it doesn’t contain palm oil) and shake on some garlic powder. Bake wrapped in foil in the oven for 10 minutes until warm and butter melted.
11. Whole-grain, homemade pancakes with fruit – perfect for a weekend breakfast when you have more time in the kitchen. Use whole wheat flour and a bit of rolled oats in the batter.
12. Whole wheat crust pizza – there are several frozen varieties at your local supermarket that are made with a whole wheat crust. Fast and easy.
13. Low-sugar granola cereal with fruit – typically you look for oats and/or millet in the granola ingredients. What you also want to look for on the nutritional label is low sugar, as so many granolas are high in sugar. Here’s a great recipe to make your own with honey and coconut, though we’d recommend you use olive oil instead of canola oil to reduce your GMO exposure. And we love this video and ideas for making your granola on Sunday night so that you have it ready for your family the entire week.
14. Soup and whole wheat crackers – our favorite whole wheat crackers are the Triscuit brand. There is a Baked Whole Grain Wheat Reduced Fat variety that tastes great but doesn’t have saturated fat, though original Triscuit crackers are still quite low on the saturated fat anyway. If you want to reduce your sodium or if you are allergic to wheat, Wasa makes a wonderful Light Rye Crispbread (thick cracker) that is great for pairing with soups or topping with a cheese slice and tomato as a side to your soup.
15. Organic popcorn and a movie – okay, this really isn’t a meal. But we couldn’t resist mentioning this is a really great whole grain snack plus family movie night at home. Kids will eat their whole grains as popcorn like there is no tomorrow! To find organic popcorn, you can find some popped varieties already bagged at your local grocery store or natural food store. Or, look for unpopped organic popcorn and pop it yourself — this way you can control how much salt and butter is used. We like using the Lekue Popcorn Popper in the microwave because it’s so darn easy to use and clean. But if you’re against using the microwave, which we’d understand, then there are many other varieties that are stove top or plug in.
How are you sneaking in whole grains into your family’s meals?
Let us know in the comments below ⬇