Don’t Forget Your Whole Grains over the Holidays

Eat Whole Grains over the Holidays

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Do you feel like whole grains get the backseat when holiday season hits? The team at NorthShore University Health System remind us why we need to continue to make whole grains an integral part of our diet.

The 4-1-1 on Whole Grains

Whole grains have always been on our beloved food pyramid, but it is often a category that is quickly looked over. As of late, we all have started to hear more than ever that we need to incorporate as many whole grain foods into our diets as possible, but many of us do not know how many servings are recommended, the benefits of these whole grains, and what foods are packed with the most whole grain nutrients.

Why Whole Grains?

Whole grains are packed with disease-fighting nutrients and antioxidants. Research has shown that whole grains are essential in lowering the risk of developing many diseases such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Sounds amazing! Now what is a whole grain?

Whole grains are grains that contain all the essential parts of the grain seed which are the germ, endosperm and bran versus other refined grains that only contain the endosperm. Popular whole grains include:

  • Barley
  • Corn (even popcorn!)
  • Brown Rice
  • Rye
  • Oats
  • Whole grain flour

Tips to Eating More Whole Grains

Incorporating more whole grains into your diet may sound like a difficult feat, however, it is easier than you might imagine. By making simply substitutions, and slowly making changes, you can be on your way to eating a healthier diet and living a healthier life in no time.

  • According to the USDA you should eat at least ounces of whole grains every day. 1 ounce equals a slice of bread, 1 cup of oatmeal or a ½ cup of cooked pasta or rice.
  • Swap out half of the white flour for whole wheat flour in recipes.
  • Substitute cold sweetened cereals for oatmeal or other hot cereals. Most sweetened name brand cereals are packed with sugars while oatmeal usually is packed with the perfect amount of whole grain goodness to get your morning started. Kids love oatmeal, so teach them the importance of the whole grains in their breakfast cereal.
  • Look for whole-grain bread from your local bakery. Day-old bread is cheaper, and the benefits of whole-grain bread are worth it.

Whole grains are easier to incorporate into your diet than you may have even known. Make an effort to add these essential grains into your everyday eating routine to give you and your family the nutrients you need!

Do you include whole grains in your diet? What is your favorite way to sneak them in?

About the Author: NorthShore is an integrated health system with dedicated medical offices and hospitals in the Chicago area. The core mission of NorthShore University Health System is to preserve and improve human life. Visit NorthShore today for personalized wellness services today.


  1. I’m a nut for oatmeal in any form-I need to break out if my rut though. I really like bulgur too, actually I have a grain and spinach loaf I make that uses both oats and bulgur that is dang tasty…

    • You can try breakfast quinoa too to switch things up. Or consider playing with the milk or toppings in your oatmeal to get different flavor profiles and still eat your whole grains. 🙂


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