Advanced 4 Week Action Plan+ Free Whole Grain Cheat Sheet
For increasing your whole grain foods consumptions to 3 clean servings per day you have many delicious choices depending on your taste preferences. After a while, as your taste buds grow to appreciate the nuttier, fuller taste of whole grains, some of your “white” favorites may taste surprisingly bland!
Week 1: What are Whole Grains?
This first week again is about awareness. With so many different products available on the supermarket shelves, how do we know whether a product is whole grain?
The truth is that you will find out when looking at the label. Choose foods that list whole grains as the first ingredient.
The Whole Grains Council has created an official packaging symbol called the Whole Grain Stamp that helps consumers find real whole grain products. The Stamp started to appear on store shelves in mid-2005 and is becoming more widespread.
With the Whole Grain Stamp, finding whole grains is easy. Our free cheat sheet helps you in identifying whole grain products even when the stamps are missing.
Click here to download the whole grain cheat sheet!
Week 2: Stock your kitchen with whole grain foods
Now that you know what to look for (and avoid), it’s time to stock your kitchen and pantry with whole grain food. Get a feel for the different types and examples of whole grains.
Whole grain versus whole wheat
It’s important to remember that whole wheat is only one type of whole grain. Other grains that can be considered to be whole grain are:
- brown rice
- quinoa (Pseudo-Grain)
- amaranth and
- wild rice
Wheat can come in the form of bulgur, spelt, wheat berries, and farro.
Our picture below gives you a visual idea of some whole grains. Quinoa by the way is a pseudo-grain but so healthy that I felt I had to include it in the whole grain collage below.
Whole grain bread
Switch your bakery habits from white bread and rolls to whole–grain breads. Take always a close look at the ingredients as brown bread can also be a disguised white bread dyed brown with caramel.
While 100% whole grain is a great source of nutrients, rye and whole grain crackers will work too.
Homemade whole grain bread of any kind is the best option when you take clean eating seriously. The web is full of whole grain bread recipes.
But, most likely you don’t have time to bake your own whole grain bread. Here are two clean eating bread brands I like to recommend:
Alvarado Street Bakery Brand Breads
All of their products have organic whole wheat as the number one ingredient.
Trader Joe’s brand whole grain breads
The Sprouted Multi-Grain bread is clean.
Try to have oatmeal always available. It is a very original way to eat your grain serving per day without many associated substances.
Oats contain from all grains the highest amount of healthy fat (7%), especially multiple unsaturated fatty acids, and a lot of protein (15 %). Oats is also rich in Iron, Zinc and Magnesium, Vitamin B1, B6 and E. Made with 100% natural, whole grain oats, oatmeal is not heat-treated in any way and has a limited shelf life.
On Amazon.com, a great choice for clean oatmeal to buy is Bob’s Red Mill Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats.
In contrast, instant oats are rolled, steamed, and precooked grains and therefore have a very long shelf life. These will often have sweet flavorings added, and are not recommended.
Week 3: 8 easy ways to increase whole grain consumption
Week 3 is a great week to experiment a little bit. Below I have listed some easy ways to increase your whole grain foods consumption:
- Oats are a versatile ingredient and can be used in other recipes besides muesli or oatmeal (check here my ultimate whole grain recipe for breakfast). Put some oats and make your ground meat more solid or bind soups and sauces with it.
- Exchanging white rice for brown is another way to to add more whole grain foods to your diet. Brown rice has a higher satiation effect and contains important nutrients. Parboiled rice is acceptable too because of its special processing it is a better source of calcium, vitamin B-6, potassium and fiber than regular white rice.
- Enjoy whole grain salads like tabouleh made of bulgur (durum wheat)
- Add half a cup of cooked wheat or rye berries, whole grain rice (brown rice), barley or sorghum to your favorite soup.
- Substitute quinoa in place of couscous: Quinoa is unprocessed and whole-grain, couscous in contrast is made from processed wheat flour
- Make your own whole wheat bread sandwiches with healthy ingredients including veggies instead of spending your hard-earned money on overpriced ready-made sandwiches or bagels.
- Buy whole grain pasta or a mix of whole-grain and white pasta.
- Substitute half the white flour with whole wheat flour in your regular recipes for breads, pancakes and muffins.
Week 4: Game plan for life
Home-made or bakery fresh bread tastes so great that you can eat a double portion very easily.
You can see bread as a traditional fast food. Hence remember – no matter if you consume it whole grain or with white flour – if you are eating too many calories you will gain weight.
For a successful weight management don’t eat more than 4 servings of grains and potatoes per day. If you eat muesli for breakfast and whole grain noodles or potatoes for lunch then you have room left for 2 servings of whole grain bread.
LeanJumpStart Tip: Do not buy fresh bread every day. Instead buy it once a week and deep-freeze bread portions. 2-3 slices per individual/per day are sufficient. That way, you will not be tempted to eat more.
Are you a whole grain foods lover?
Are you overweight and already eating more than 4 servings of grains and potatoes per day? Try to eat grains more sparingly in favor of more vegetables.
Tell me your personal strategies for eating more whole grain foods
What are your strategies for eating whole grain foods? I’d love to read your favorite whole grain tips or best recipes below in the comments.