So how do you make sure you get enough grains in your diet?  Simple. Stock your kitchen with delicious whole-grain foods you like. If you have whole-grain choices on hand all the time, it will be easy to fill up on the fiber they have to offer.

Here are some tips to get you going:
  • While you're getting used to whole-grain bread, make sandwiches with one slice of whole-grain bread and one slice of your regular bread. Eventually switch to all whole-grain.

  • To get used to the delightful flavor of brown rice, cook a pot of rice that's half brown and half white. As long as the grain lengths are the same, they will cook in the same amount of time. For instance, use 1 cup long-grain brown rice mixed with 1 cup long-grain white rice. Cook as usual.

  • Stash snack mixes with whole grains in your cupboard, car, or desk for an easy snack.
Try this recipe for an easy snack mix:

Low-Fat Cracker Mix
  • 2 cups each of several low-fat, whole-grain crackers such as Triscuit, Rye-Crisp, Ak-Mak and others (break large crackers into bite-size pieces)

  • 2 cups pretzels

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
To include more whole grains in your routine, use whole-grain crackers in different ways. Try spreading bean dip on them and top with a piece of tomato. Place a small slice of reduced-fat cheese and a slice of cucumber on top of a cracker. Or make miniature sandwiches using whole-grain crackers. Keep whole-grain rice cakes on hand for a crunchy snack. Add toppings such as hummus (Middle Eastern spread made from chickpeas) and bell pepper slices. When choosing tortillas, use either corn tortillas, which are lower in fat and calories than flour tortillas, or whole-wheat flour tortillas. Keep an eye out for whole-wheat "low-carb" tortillas, which have extra fiber added to them. Don't be concerned about the low-carb aspect; it's the extra fiber that's a boon. Whole-wheat tortillas make easy wraps or quesadillas. Fill wraps with your favorite vegetables, beans, and flavorful low-fat sauces. Sprinkle reduced-fat cheese on a whole-wheat tortilla and melt under the broiler.

Making oatmeal? Replace a tablespoon or two of oats with oat bran. Even though oatmeal is a whole grain, oat bran is a concentrated source of fiber. Do the same with hot wheat cereals -- add a little wheat bran to increase the fiber content. If you're baking, use whole-wheat flour to replace at least part of the white flour. Whole-wheat flour can replace up to one-half the white flour without making any other adjustments. If replacing all the flour with whole-wheat flour, use two tablespoons less whole-wheat flour per cup of white flour. Or, you could replace 2 to 4 tablespoons of flour with wheat bran or oat bran for a real fiber boost. Whole-grain pastas have improved since they first appeared on store shelves many years ago. Try different brands until you find one you like. Some natural food stores carry a brand that's half whole grain and half refined grain. Or you can mix half whole-grain pasta with half regular pasta at home until your taste buds adjust.

Setting Grain Goals

To start off on the whole-grain path, consider the following goals:
  • I will buy whole-grain bread this week and use it at least once every other day to replace my white bread.

  • I will buy whole-grain crackers and eat some for an afternoon snack three days this week.
Grain foods are a great source of fiber and other nutrients that will help you stay healthy. With the right approach, you can work them into your diet rather easily. Once you've accomplished that, you can start thinking about adding more vegetables, which we'll discuss in the next section.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.