Whole grains is a buzz word but it’s around for good reason, because whole grains really are better for you.
Most grains are processed from their original form. For instance steel cut oats are cut in half and rolled oats are formed into their shape by milling as well. In these cases processing is not taking away their nutritional value. So, realize not all processing changes nutritional value.
White rice and white unbleached flour both lose nutritional value through the process of removing parts of the grain that are the most nutritious part. That’s why you hear that you should avoid processed foods.
Many white products try to add back some of the very nutrients that are stripped out, but it is still better for your whole family to eat whole grains to begin with.
Rice is a staple for many and substituting brown rice for white will make a huge nutritional impact. You are adding various b vitamins as well as fiber. If your family is resistant to trying new foods, try starting with long grain or basmati brown rice. The texture is the closest to white rice.
Making bean and grain patties or balls are a great way to add some extra veggies and to add whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, or bulgar. Simply combine some cooked beans like pintos or chickpeas and mash with the cooked grain of your choice. You can spice them however you like and bake them for bite-sized snacks or a burger substitute. (You can also sneak in some leftover cooked veggies as well.)
Stews are also a good whole grain delivery vehicle that can burst with flavor and nutritious goodies. You can make this on the stove top or in a 4 quart slow cooker. I like to pick a bean, a grain, and a root veggie to start things out. So you could make a black bean brown rice stew with sweet potatoes and use some chili powder or a traditional split pea and barley soup with potatoes cooked with a bay leaf.