15 Way to Increase Your Intake of Whole Grains

September is “National Whole Grain Month”! Here are some tips to increase your intake of whole grains.. try something new this month! Remember.. aim for making at least half of your grain intake a whole grain option.


  • Try multiple loaves of whole-grain bread to find a new favorite. Remember to look for whole wheat or whole grain listed first on the nutrition facts ingredients list.
  • Serve brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Swap potatoes for a whole grain side – quinoa, bulgur, or wheat berries.
  • Look for the whole grain stamp on the front of packaged food items.
  • Try a new breakfast cereal with at least 16 grams of whole grain per serving.
  • Serve whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta. Or do half-and-half for a whole grain rich pasta night.
  • Buy grain you have never tried – Look in the bulk bins at the store.
  • Cook a pot of steel-cut oatmeal on the weekend to eat for breakfast during the week. After cooking, store in individual containers in the fridge for an easy whole grain meal.
  • Make pizza night whole grain rich with a whole-wheat crust.
  • Bake cookies with whole-wheat flour instead of white.
  • Serve burgers or hot dogs on whole-wheat buns.
  • Try a new recipe. Visit wholegrainscouncil.org for recipes.
  • Use whole corn meal when baking corn bread or muffins.
  • Add cooked whole grains like wheat, rye berries, brown rice, sorghum, or barley to canned soup.
  • Add ½ cup uncooked oats for each pound of ground beef or turkey when making meatballs, burgers, or meatloaf.

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St. Louis Style BBQ Pork Steaks

I know I will be grilling up some delicious food this Labor Day weekend, and these pork steaks are one of my specialties! In no way is this one of the healthiest items you can grill, but it sure is delicious! Serve with grilled corn, grilled asparagus, or assorted grilled skewered veggies! I can smell the BBQ smoke already.. 


4-6 pork steaks
Chicago steak seasoning (or any seasoning blend to your liking)
BBQ Sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray’s)
light beer Continue reading

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Black Bean & Chicken Chilaquiles

A healthier baked version of the traditional mexican breakfast! This simple dish can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Experiment with different types of salsa, and top with a variety of toppings such as diced avocado, tomato wedges, cilantro, or even an egg! Leftovers can be reheated easily by drizzling some water over the top before microwaving. 


cooking spray
1 cup thinly sliced onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup bottled salsa (or for a more traditional dish, use salsa de chile fresco)
15 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips
1 cup shredded mexican blend cheese Continue reading

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Veggie Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

This low-carb pizza is made with a cauliflower crust! Reduce the calories without sacrificing flavor. Feel free to top the pizza with your favorite vegetables – the more variety of vegetables the better! 

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1 cauliflower head, roughly chopped (about 3 lbs)
cooking spray
2 tsp olive oil, divided
1/2 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper
1/2 cup sliced fresh basil, divided
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp salt, or to taste
3 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced seeded tomatoes
2/3 cup fresh baby spinach Continue reading

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Summer Food Safety

With rising temperatures and outdoor dining events, food safety is a major concern this Summer (and all year around). Use the following tips to keep your next outdoor picnic, barbecue, or gathering safe for all!


  • The normal “two hour rule” changes to the “one hour rule” when temperatures creep up above 90 degrees F.
    • Hot temperatures are just right for allowing the bacteria in food to multiply to numbers that could make people sick. This includes foods on picnic tables, buffet lines at family reunions, and bag lunches.
    • If at home, serve the food inside the air conditioned house instead of outside in the heat.
    • Set an alarm on your phone to alert you when the food should be put away. It is easy to lose track of time when at a gathering with family and friends.
  • When carrying food to another location, keep it cold to minimize bacterial growth.
    • Use an insulated cooler with ice or ice packs to keep the food cold.
    • If traveling far, place the cooler inside air conditioned car, not the hot trunk.
    • Refrigerate all perishable foods immediately upon getting home.
  • When doing errands, make the grocery store your last stop.
    • Pick up frozen and refrigerated foods just before you hit the checkout lines, so it is not sitting in your cart for an extended period of time.
  • If you’re going to a farmers’ market, farm stand, or pick-your-own field, take a cooler along too. Don’t store fresh produce in the trunk of your car.
  • At an outdoor event (or any event), keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use. Only take out the items that will be immediately placed on the grill.
  • When using a cooler outside, keep it out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or under a shelter.
    • Pack beverages in one cooler and perishables in a separate cooler. This will help avoid warm air from getting in the cooler when the lid is opened and closed often.
  • Keep everything clean! If there is no running water, bring clean cloths or moist towelettes.
    • Don’t reuse ice used to keep food cold, could be a potential of contamination.
    • Don’t use the same plate or platter and utensils for raw and cooked food.
  • If you don’t finish your meal at a restaurant, make sure there’s a cooler in the car for any food you bring home. The “one hour rule” goes into effect here too!
  • Don’t get careless with picnics and other outdoor food events. Unless you are absolutely sure about the safety of the food, throw away any leftovers.

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Summer Vegetable Chowder

A quick one pot dinner perfect for using up fresh summer veggies! The “creaminess” comes from sautéed and puréed zucchini, onion, and celery which makes this soup creamy and flavorful but without a ton of calories and fat! My husband, who LOVES soup, approved of this meatless summer meal. A new weeknight staple! 


1 Tbsp canola oil
1 small sweet yellow onion, small diced
2 celery stalks, small diced
1 medium zucchini, small diced
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
salt & ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 – 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 – 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional.. use as desired for a hint of spicy)
1 pound baby red or yellow potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, small diced
2 cups fresh corn kernels (or frozen)
2 Tbsp cream (optional.. adds a creamier texture to the soup)
green onions, for garnish Continue reading

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Nutrition Misconceptions

You may not realize it, but every day you make unconscious decisions about how you eat. Some healthy and some not-so-healthy. This post will reveal the top nutrition misconceptions people have and the truth behind the myths.

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1. “I can’t eat after 7pm”
Calories are calories – it doesn’t matter when you eat them. What matters is the total calories you take in. If you do find yourself hungry at night, make healthier choices. Often, late night eaters reach for unhealthy processed snacks and may over-indulge while watching television (this would lead to weight gain).

2. You should purchase a food because it claims to be “Natural”
The term “natural” is so loosely defined by the government that you’ll find it on everything from cereal boxes to soda to packages of meat. You’re better off ignoring the word on any package and taking the time to read through the ingredients and nutrition information. Don’t be fooled into believing that natural means healthy.

3. You Need to Load up on Protein Post Workout
Your body can only digest about 30 grams of protein in a meal. With a good diet, you shouldn’t have to supplement protein unless you’re a serious body builder. Any extra protein will either be excreted or just hang around your waist line as extra calories. Continue reading

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