Eating Healthy: Choose More Whole Grains

Eating Healthy: Add in Whole Grains at CHEFScatalog.com
January 8, 2014

Are you looking for an easy way to start eating healthier? Well, then you’re in luck! Incorporating more whole grains into your diet is one easy way to do it. Most of the time, you won’t notice a difference in taste—but your body will sure notice the health benefits whole grains have to offer.

Some of those benefits

Incorporate More Whole Grains into your Diet for better health at CHEFScatalog.com Eating more whole grains can help ward off various health issues, like cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. In addition, whole grains can help lower bad cholesterol and reduce insulin levels.

Another benefit is that they contain plenty of fiber, which helps your body digest food. Nuts, seeds, fresh fruits, and vegetables also contain fiber. Fiber, from whole grains and from these other sources, helps:

  • Lower bad cholesterol for better heart health,
  • Reduces the risk of colon and breast cancer,
  • Slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, and
  • Keeps you feeling more full and satisfied to prevent you from overindulging.

How many servings a day?

To maintain a healthy diet, nutritionists recommend you consume three servings of whole grains every day. Depending on your age and gender, those serving sizes differ.

  • For women 31 and above, it’s 3 ounces per day.
  • For men ages 31-50, aim for 3.5 ounces of whole grains each day.
  • For men, 51 and older, reduce that to just 3 ounces.

But, that’s not all

Vitamins and minerals are also extremely prevalent in whole grains. Folate (also known as folic acid), iron, and B vitamins all play a key role in keeping your body healthy. B vitamins give your body energy, folate assists helps your body form red blood cells, and iron carries oxygen throughout your bloodstream.

Easy substitutions

Getting more whole grains into your everyday diet is easy. You just have to make the right swaps. Here are a five simple ways to incorporate more grains:

  1. Popcorn, as a whole grain, makes a healthier snack at CHEFScatalog.com Baking: When a recipe calls for flour, substitute half of the called for white flour with wheat flour. The whole wheat option contains much more fiber than white and an increased number of vitamins as well, like B vitamins, riboflavin, and folate.
  2. Popcorn: Popcorn is a whole grain food and it’s low in calories and a great source of fiber. Instead of noshing on chips—which can be packed with calories, fat, and sodium—while watching TV, swap them for a couple cups of popcorn. Make popcorn even healthier by seasoning it with garlic powder, lemon pepper, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, or coconut oil instead of butter and salt.
  3. Cereal: As tasty as processed cereals can be, the amount of sugar in them often makes them a challenge nutritionally. Instead, look for whole wheat varieties. Eating a whole grain cereal is a great way to start your day because it keeps you full until the next meal and gives your body protein to maintain a slim and trim waistline. This doesn’t mean you have to miss out on flavor. Many whole grain cereals are just as tasty, plus you can add toppings like fresh fruit and granola for even more flavor.
  4. Pasta: Next time you make your favorite pasta recipe, like Pasta Primavera or Traditional Lasagna (recipes below), swap traditional white pasta for wheat. Refined pasta leaves out the bran and germ, which makes whole wheat the more nutritious alternative. You’ll get more health benefits out of whole-wheat pasta, including more antioxidants, protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
  5. Rice: Do the same with rice. You have plenty of healthy and delicious options when it comes to this carbohydrate. Try making wild or brown rice instead of white rice. Either choice is far more flavorful and better for you.


Print Pasta Primavera recipe at CHEFScatalog.comPasta Primavera

Substitute any in season vegetables to customize this pasta dish. As a variation of the dish, roast the vegetables until tender.

Print Pasta Primavera recipe at CHEFScatalog.com Ingredients

1/2 onion thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic minced

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs

1/2 red bell pepper cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 yellow bell pepper cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 bunch broccoli, trimmed, blanched, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed, blanched, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

15 quartered cherry tomatoes

1 pound fettuccine, cooked (use whole wheat pasta for a healthier choice)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus shavings for garnish

6 basil leaves cut into ribbons (chiffonade, see video) CHEFS Colanders at CHEFScatalog.com

Cooking Instructions

Cook fettuccine per package instructions. Drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

In a pan over medium-low heat, sauté onion and garlic in oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add bell peppers; cook 2 more minutes. Add broccoli, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, Italian herbs and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes, just until combined and heated through.

Add cooked pasta to pan with vegetables; toss to incorporate. If desired, add small amounts of reserved pasta water to moisten. Toss in grated Parmesan cheese.

Transfer to serving dish. Garnish with additional Parmesan shavings and chiffonade of basil.


Print Traditional Lasagna recipe at CHEFScatalog.comTraditional Lasagna

Print Traditional Lasagna recipe at CHEFScatalog.com Ingredients

1 pound ground beef

1 package spicy or sweet Italian sausage

2-1/2 cups fresh spinach

3 cups mozzarella cheese

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

16 ounces ricotta cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

2 large eggs

12 lasagna noodles (use whole wheat for a healthier option)

2 jars Spicy Red Pepper sauce

Cooking Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a medium size skillet, brown ground beef.

In separate skillet, brown Italian sausage (the sausage cooks more quickly than the beef). Drain excess grease out of both and combine.

CHEFS Never Burn Sauce Pot at CHEFScatalog.com In large pot, pour in both jars of sauce. Pour all meat into sauce and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes so flavors combine well.

In separate pot, cook pasta noodles (follow package directions). Set aside and let cool.

In medium size bowl combine: eggs, ricotta cheese, 2 cups mozzarella, and Italian seasoning. Set aside.

In your casserole dish, pour 1/2 cup pasta sauce on the bottom surface of the dish and spread so that there are no dry spots on the bottom of your pan. Spread 3 to 4 noodles across dish. Cover noodles with sauce and meat mixture. Place spinach over sauce.

Next, use a spoon to place 3 to 4 spoonfuls of cheese mixture along each row of noodles. Cover cheese with noodles. Repeat process until the 12 noodles have all been used. When the last layer is complete, finish by placing the remaining 1 cup mozzarella over the top.

Place foil over casserole dish and place in oven for 40 minutes. When only five minutes remain, remove foil and sprinkle parmesan cheese over mozzarella. Return lasagna dish into oven without foil and cook for the remaining 5 minutes.

Print Cook's Country Wild Rice Dressing recipe at CHEFScatalog.comCook's Country Wild Rice Dressing

Print Cook's Country Wild Rice Dressing recipe at CHEFScatalog.com Ingredients

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups water

1 bay leaf

2 cups wild rice

10 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces (a hearty whole grain bread would also work)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 onions, chopped fine

3 celery ribs, chopped fine

4 garlic cloves, minced

1-1/2 teaspoons dried sage

1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

2 large eggs

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cooking Instructions

Yes, it’s unconventional, but this wild rice dressing is rich, nutty, buttery, savory, and wholly delicious. Depending on the brand, wild rice absorbs varying quantities of liquid. If you have less than 1-1/2 cups of leftover cooking liquid, make up the difference with additional low-sodium chicken broth. We also provide two variations of the basic recipe. Serves 10 to 12

Cook wild rice: Bring broth, water, and bay leaf to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add wild rice, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, until rice is tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Strain contents of pan through fine-mesh strainer into large liquid measuring cup. Transfer wild rice to medium bowl; discard bay leaf. Reserve 1-1/2 cups cooking liquid.

Toast bread: Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 F. Pulse half of bread in food processor until pea-size pieces remain and transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining bread and another rimmed baking sheet. Bake bread crumbs until golden, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and switching and rotating baking sheets halfway through baking. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.

Haeger Natural Stoneware Baking Dish at CHEFScatalog.com Sauté aromatics: Melt 4 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat. Cook onions and celery until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, sage, and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in reserved cooking liquid, remove from heat, and cool 5 minutes.

Assemble and bake: Whisk cream, eggs, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Slowly whisk in warm broth mixture. Stir in wild rice and toasted bread crumbs and transfer to 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish. Melt remaining butter in now-empty skillet and drizzle evenly over dressing. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake on lower-middle rack until set, 45 to 55 minutes. Remove foil and let cool 15 minutes. Serve.

Make ahead: Assembled dressing can be refrigerated in baking dish, covered, for 1 day. To finish, melt remaining butter, drizzle over dressing, and proceed with recipe, adding 20 minutes to baking time.

Test Kitchen Discovery: Harvesting Rice Water: We cook wild rice more like pasta than like traditional steamed rice, boiling the rice in extra water (and chicken broth) and then draining it. We then use the flavorful, starchy liquid to help the dressing cohere.

Recipe Variations
  • Dried Fruit and Nut Wild Rice Dressing: Prepare Wild Rice Dressing, adding 1-1/2 cups chopped dried apricots, cranberries, or cherries and 1-1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans with bread crumbs in step 4.
  • Leek and Mushroom Wild Rice Dressing: Prepare Wild Rice Dressing, replacing onions and celery with 4 leeks (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise and sliced thin, and 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced thin.

Print Popcorn and Flavorings recipe at CHEFScatalog.comPopcorn and Flavorings

Print Popcorn and Flavorings recipe at CHEFScatalog.com Ingredients

3 tablespoons peanut oil

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cooking Instructions

Heat the oil in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan or popcorn popper with a lid set over medium-high heat. Pour in popcorn kernels and sprinkle enough salt to lightly cover the layer of kernels. Add the butter and cover with the lid.

As popcorn is popping continually shake the pan back and forth across the burner until the popping slows down (if popcorn popper has a paddle, turn the paddle). As soon as the pops are about 2 seconds apart, remove from the heat and pour into a serving bowl. Taste and season with salt or flavoring, if desired.

Popcorn Tip: Add 3 or 4 unpopped kernels in the oil as it is heating. Shake the pan as it is heating. Once the kernels all pop, add the remaining kernels and continue popping

Garlic Parmesan Butter

1/4 cup melted butter

2-1/2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated

2 tablespoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Melt butter and stir in garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Drizzle butter mixture over hot popcorn, shaking to thoroughly coat popcorn. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Toss and serve.

CHEFS Stainless Steel Popcorn Maker at CHEFScatalog.com Cajun Popcorn Salt

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

In a small bowl, add all ingredients and stir to thoroughly combine. Sprinkle over hot popcorn. Toss and serve.

Ranch-Style Popcorn Salt

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

Eating Healthy: Whole Grains at CHEFScatalog.com 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon vegetable oil

In a small bowl, add all ingredients and stir to thoroughly combine. Sprinkle over hot popcorn. Toss and serve.

Vanilla Popcorn Sugar

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise seeds removed

2 tablespoons superfine sugar

salt to taste

Note: For added vanilla flavor, add whole vanilla beans to popcorn when popping. Remove from popped popcorn, split pod, and use seeds to flavor the butter.

In a small bowl, combine melted butter, vanilla bean seeds, and sugar. Stir mixture into hot popcorn until evenly coated. Toss and serve.

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Tags: Eating Healthy, Whole Grains

Categories: Food & Recipes