Sneaking More Whole Grains into Your Family's Diet


September was National Whole Grains Month and so it’s the perfect time to get on-board with these tasty gems. Why? Whole grains are rich in essential nutrition such as fiber, vitamins and minerals, and they are great ‘filler-uppers’ – that’s why. There are probably 100 or more ways to use whole grains and here are 7 of my favorites:

7 Tasty Ways with Whole Grains

1. Switch to a whole grain cereal for weekday breakfast. Oatmeal is a good one as long as you buy the plain one. Go for Old Fashioned or Instant – plain – and then add healthy, colorful toppings such as fresh or frozen berries, nuts of all varieties, or stir in a spoonful of PB & J.

2. Try making a fall-inspired muffin that uses whole grain flour. This Whole Grain Pumpkin Muffin recipe is easy to make and the kids will adore it, as will you.

3. Toss some quick-cooking barley into a pot of chili con carne. Whether you make a homemade chili or take a shortcut with a packet of spices that you add to browned ground beef and canned tomatoes, a handful of whole grain barley is a great thickener when you add it near the end.

4. Make a DIY parfait for dessert. Get all the family involved making a fun yogurt-fruit parfait. Put out small bowls of cut up fruits (fresh, canned and/or frozen), vanilla yogurt and crunchy, lower fat oat granola. Then, have fun making a colorful, layered, creamy treat.

5. Add quinoa to your plate. Quinoa is oh-so bland when cooked with water so, instead, go with broth. After it’s cooked and fluffed then try mixing in corn and/or black beans and/or chopped up herbs, minced garlic and Bell peppers. This new-ish whole grain makes a perfectly tasty side dish.

6. Mix up your rice. Brown rice goes with everything and if you’re in a time pinch, then try instant brown rice because it cooks in 10 quick minutes. If you are really daring, try wild rice with dried cranberries and minced onions.

7. Make the move to whole grain pasta. There are so many shapes of whole grain pasta to choose from. Here are 3 tasty options: traditional lasagna made with whole grain lasagna noodles; olive oil + garlic + salt/pepper mixed into whole grain angel hair pasta; or whole grain macaroni made into this amazing, one-pot mac & cheese. The family will survive this healthy whole grain swap, I promise you.

Which of these tips will you bring to your family table?


Cindy Silver is a licensed, registered dietitian who served on Piedmont Parent's 2015 Fit Family Challenge expert panel. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and visit her website.

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About this Blog

Nibbles of Nutrition

About This Blog

Cindy Silver is a licensed, registered dietitian. She is the owner of Market Basket Nutrition, a nutrition education business, and is a Nutrition Services Provider for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. She has a master’s degree in Food Science and Nutrition. 

She works with families to help them master the skills of good nutrition for healthier and happier lives. She believes that everyone can improve their nutrition and feel better by taking time to write tasty and healthy menus, get more organized in the grocery store and then cook simple and delicious meals at home. 

She also enjoys fresh air exercise, cooking, gardening, traveling and kids. She lives in Winston-Salem with her husband and their son is a senior at Appalachian State University in beautiful Boone, NC. Visit her website at

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