Not eating enough whole grains? Incorporating whole grains into your diet can be challenging when you have a busy schedule and no time to cook. Because they contain intact fiber, whole grains provide complex carbohydrates for energy while keeping blood glucose levels steady throughout the day.
Polished grains, like white rice, are digested very quickly and absorbed immediately into the bloodstream, spiking your blood glucose level, which then falls suddenly, leading to a “crash.” These erratic highs and lows of blood glucose levels contribute to diabetes, weight gain, depression, and a host of other conditions.
Traditional cultures used healing whole grains everyday in stews, soups, and salads. You can balance your diet by adding whole grains to your recipes in one week with the 7 Day Whole Grain Challenge.
Day 1: Shopping Day
Choose 2-3 whole grain recipes, make a list of ingredients, and shop! When you get home, soak grains overnight as prep for the next day’s recipe. Experiment with a variety of grains besides the staple brown rice: barley, quinoa, oat groats, amaranth, etc.
Day 2: Prep ‘n Cook Day
Cook grains and chop veggies while grains are cooking. Boil water and blanch veggies for a quick meal.
Day 3: Leftovers
Want an easy way to eat whole grains at work? Turn leftover grain into a delicious grain salad. Stir in umeboshi vinegar, olive oil, chopped scallions, and grated carrot. Take your salad to work for a healthy lunch. Before you leave, prepare another grain for soaking while you are at work. When you return home, your grain is ready to be cooked.
Day 4: Whole Grains on the Go
No time to make a whole grain lunch? Find Asian restaurants near your work and call to see which one serves brown rice. Order a delicious lunch of brown rice and sautéed veggies…and ta da! A fast and easy way to have a whole grain lunch.
Day 5: Quick Cooking Quinoa
Quick-cooking, protein-packed quinoa takes 15 minutes to cook. Keep in the fridge and mix with chopped blanched veggies for easy lunches and dinners (cook 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups water or broth, season with shoyu soy sauce).
Want to take whole grains on trips? Make your own healthy “happy” meals! Stuff nori sheets with seasoned grains and blanched veggies and roll up to make sushi. Or roll seasoned grains into balls, stuff with a little umeboshi plum, and cover with nori sheets.
Day 7: Chewing Experiment
Have a sweet tooth? Chew each bite at least 20 times. You’ll be surprised at how sweet your whole grains become. Added benefits include better digestion and a relaxing and satisfying feeling!
Healthy Relationship Tip
Widen your definition of food. Think about this: Food includes more than just what you eat. Loving relationships, satisfying careers, spiritual growth, and exercise feed you in more ways than whole grains and veggies alone. This wholistic way of living is your primary food.