Sunday, March 3, 2019

Add some whole grain snacks to your day

What are some easy ways to add some whole grains to your day especially in March as March is National Nutrition Month?  When I told my husband that March was National Nutrition Month, he said, “I plan to celebrate by having an extra banana and carrot.”   Very funny.  But he did suggest healthy choices.  You can also celebrate National Nutrition Month by adding some whole grains to your diet.  What are some health benefits of whole grains?  Do you have to give up chips to have healthier snacks?   I like chips and snacks and it isn’t hard to make some healthier choices.   

1. Why are whole grains so good for our health?The Mayo Clinic writes, “Why whole grains are the healthier choice”.  They state if you want to eat healthier, you need to add some whole grains to your day.  A dietitian at the Mayo Clinic notes, “The healthiest bread option is something made with whole grains.  It needs to say whole grain.” 
  • Heart Health – eating whole grains can lower LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol linked to heart disease.  2-3 servings a day can lower heart disease risk
  • Type 2 Diabetes – eating 2 or more servings of whole grains a day may reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes.  Why?  The fiber, phytochemicals and many nutrients in whole grains help slow the absorption of whole grain foods and helps glucose metabolism. 
  • Cancer – some studies are showing that eating whole grains may reduce one’s risk for some cancers such as colon cancer.  

       2.  What about popcorn?  Is it a healthy snack?  Popcorn is whole grain and a very healthy snack choice.  Not so healthy when you buy the movie popcorn loaded with salt and the fake “butter”.  Popcorn is loaded with fiber and those healthy antioxidants.  SkinnyPop is a healthy way to enjoy popcorn as a snack.  My daughter likes the new Popcorn mini cakes, Cinnamon & Sugar flavor.  Yes, some added sugar but only 12 calories from sugar so a tasty treat.  Try some Popcorn mini cakes as a healthy after school snack for kids. 
Cinnamon Mini Cakes 
3.  What about chips?  Are any chips healthy? 
I like chips and have some almost every day for lunch.  But healthy chips and not those highly processed snacks that turn your fingers orange.   Sunchips are a great choice.  100% whole grain and made with heart healthy oils.  I like the original flavor but any of their flavors are a healthy choice.  Food Should Taste Good has delicious multigrain Tortilla Chips.  I like to bring a bag to class to share with my students as these are tasty, yet healthy chips.  They can be expensive so we buy them when they are on sale at Costco.  Tostitos has a multigrain chip, multigrain scoops,  that isn’t 100% whole grain but does have some whole grain like brown rice and buckwheat flour and some fiber.  Late July makes some organic multigrain chips that are whole grain and made with sea salt.  (Try buying Late July at Giant or Walmart.)    

 4.  How to add more whole grains to your day

a.       Choose whole grain English Muffins over enriched, white English Muffins
b.       Choose the low-fat bran muffin
c.       In recipes, try using rolled oats or crushed bran cereal in place of dried bread crumbs. 
d.       Choose a whole grain breakfast cereal like any General Mills' cereal or shredded wheat or one of the best for your health, oatmeal.

So, celebrate National Nutrition Month.  Yes, you can add the carrot or banana like my husband, but you can also try adding some whole grains to your day.

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