You may have heard that grains are low in nutrients and add nothing but calories to our diet, but nothing could be further from the truth! It’s time to bust the myths and enjoy the goodness of grains. The truth is:
Grains are good for you. Grain foods are the foods we love that love us back. All grain foods contribute less than 15% of all calories in the total diet, while delivering greater than 20% of three shortfall nutrients – dietary fiber, folate, and iron – and greater than 10% of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin A.
Grains really power your body. The fiber found in grains helps satiate hunger, improve digestive health and may protect against certain cancers. B Vitamins from grains are vital to metabolism. And minerals including iron, magnesium and phosphorus are all prevalent in whole grain foods and keep cells healthy.
Fiber is our friend. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Data, grains and grain-based foods provide 40% of fiber in the American diet.
Ditch the fad diet but keep the grains. Bread is dietitian approved – grains are a part of every healthful eating plan, like the Mediterranean diet, and as part of a healthy diet, provide nutrients needed for healthy aging: B-vitamins, magnesium, selenium, iron, folate, and fiber.
Stock your pantry with nourishing grain foods for meals and snacks:
Variety of Aunt Millie’s Breads
Aunt Millie’s Bagels
Aunt Millie’s English Muffins
Whole grain crackers
Hot and cold cereal
Make sure your grains keep healthy company. The ingredients inside the sandwich – not the bread – are the leading contributors of calories, fat and sodium.
Avocado Caprese Toast
Makes 8 servings
8 slices Aunt Millie's Best Grains 12 Grain Bread
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 avocados, sliced
4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1 small container bocconcini (small mozzarella balls)
1. Brush bread slices with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Broil until lightly browned.
2. Lay out the 8 slices of bread, and top each with avocado, tomato, bocconcini, and basil.
3. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.
Nutrition information per serving: 289 calories; 19g fat; 27g carbohydrate; 9g fiber; 10g protein; 496mg sodium
Garden Bean Fiesta Mini Pizza
Makes 4 servings
4 Tbsp. refried beans (vegetarian)
3 Tbsp. chunky salsa
¼ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. chili powder
¼ fresh avocado, very thinly sliced
1 ½ ounce grated mozzarella cheese
½ ounce grated or crumbled cheddar cheese
1 ounce diced tomato
½ ounce chopped red onion
½ Tbsp. fresh cilantro
2 - Aunt Millie’s 100% Whole Wheat Slimwiches
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
2. Open Slimwiches and lay open-faced on non-greased cooking sheet
3. Mix refried beans, salsa, cumin, and chili powder. Spread mixture on top of Slimwich halves
4. Layer with avocado slices, mozzarella cheese, tomato, red onion, cheddar cheese. Top with fresh cilantro
5. Bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees F or until cheese is melted
6. Let pizzas cool for approximately 2 minutes before eating
Nutrition information per serving: 120 calories; 4.5g fat; 15g carbohydrate; 4g fiber; 7g protein; 320mg sodium
Beef and Mushroom Burgers – with the benefits of the bun!
Makes 4 serving
1 pound Ground Beef (93% or leaner)
8 ounces mushrooms, finely diced
1 egg white
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 Aunt Millie’s whole grain hamburger buns
1/4 cup shredded Manchego cheese
1. Combine ground beef, mushrooms, egg white, garlic, salt and pepper in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Lightly shape into four 1/2-inch thick patties.
2. Place patties on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 8 to 10 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, covered, 7 to 9 minutes) until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160°F, turning occasionally.
Cook's Tip: Cooking times are for fresh or thoroughly thawed ground beef. Color is not a reliable indicator of ground beef doneness.
3. Place burgers on bun bottoms. Top evenly with cheese. Close sandwich.
Nutrition information per serving: 338 calories; 13g fat; 23g carbohydrate; 3.5g fiber; 33g protein; 644mg sodium
Shari Steinbach is a registered Dietician and Nutrition & Culinary Consultant. Shari has managed consumer health communication, community events, nutrition programs, and solution-selling strategies.