HEALTH/ Healthy Eating/ How-Tos/ RECIPES

Healthy Eating -White To Brown: Make your grains count

I have been asked by readers to post some easy, practical baby-steps for them to take on their road to healthy eating. Here are some we started with…
Get Rid Of White and Embrace Brown!
  • Brown rice instead of white rice
  • 100% Whole wheat pasta instead of plain
  • 100% Whole wheat bread instead of white
  • Whole grain, fiber- rich cereals instead of sugar cereals
  • Whole wheat flour instead of white flour
If that is too overwhelming, just start with one. Give your family a chance to get used to it.
Whole Wheat Pasta
When I switched from white pasta to brown, the first few times I mixed the two together to introduce it to the family. I also let them get heavy handed with the parmesan cheese.:) They did complain that it tasted different the first couple times, but got used to it. Now, they don’t even remember complaining about it!
100% Whole Wheat Bread
This one is so important if you are a family that eats a lot of toast and sandwiches. White bread is just a bunch of empty calories, very little fiber, and does not keep you full.

Read Labels!! (while you are checking out fiber content ..aim for 3 grams/serving-also look for high fructose corn syrup, which you want to avoid!)

In comparing bread ingredient labels, use the same judgment tip we mentioned in comparing yogurt labels: the shorter the ingredient list, the better the bread. The most nutritious bread may be made from only whole wheat flour, water, yeast, and salt, with possibly a touch of molasses and honey, or the addition of other “whole” grains. The key-word on the bread label is “whole.” Be particularly careful of the most recent little white label lie called “wheat flour,” which does not mean the same as whole wheat. Wheat flour, which gives bread a light brown color and therefore more health appeal, is 75 percent white flour and only 25 percent whole wheat. So it’s only 25 percent healthy bread instead of 100 percent. By looking at labels, you can group breads into three categories:

  • Best breads are 100 percent whole wheat. Whole wheat flour is the first ingredient on the label. Enriched flour does not appear in the ingredient list. If it doesn’t say “whole wheat,” it’s not. Wheat flour, as listed on labels, officially should mean 75 percent white and 25 percent whole wheat, but it may not. All white bread is “wheat flour,” so this term is misleading, at best. A truthful label would state what percentage is whole wheat. If a label says “wheat flour,” assume it’s not whole wheat.
  • Better breads list “whole wheat flour” as the main ingredient, but may include white flour, too.
  • Downright junk breads list “bleached, enriched flour” first in the ingredient list. Leave these on the shelf where they belong. If it doesn’t say “whole” on the label, it’s wrong for your body.
Brown Rice
This one is a big one. There is just so much benefit from eating brown rice! I have a rice cooker that is so easy to use. I love using homemade chicken stock instead of water, or adding a can of rotel tomatoes w/green chilies with the water.

(from whfoods)

The process that produces brown rice removes only the outermost layer, the hull, of the rice kernel and is the least damaging to its nutritional value. The complete milling and polishing that converts brown rice into white rice destroys 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. Fully milled and polished white rice is required to be “enriched” with vitamins B1, B3 and iron.

Healthy, Whole Grain Cereals
Get rid of sugar cereals! I personally can’t stand the idea of my girls eating these for breakfast b/c I know the sugar rush I get when I eat them, and I also know the let down shortly after. I picture them sitting at school, tummy’s growling by 10:00 a.m. distracting their little brains, just because of a choice I made when adding groceries to my cart. When you are eating these type of cereals every day, then switch to a fiber rich, whole grain, low- sugar cereal, you will notice a difference when you try to go back to the sugar cereal. It will taste good (maybe), but won’t be satisfying and won’t make you feel good or full.
My girls get tired of the same type every week, so I try to mix it up. Right now they are on a Raisin Bran kick. Cereal was another food that took some time for them to adjust to. Now they “get it”. My oldest daughter was at a sleepover this past summer and ate a donut and a bowl of fruit loops or lucky charms or one of those yummy fun cereals. I had to pick her up mid-morning for a swim lesson (she is in level 4 which is pretty intense laps most of the 45 minutes). The first thing she said to me when she got in the car was, “mom, I need some good food or I will not have the energy to swim” She loved the donut and fun cereal, but also knew it just wouldn’t do the trick for swimming stamina.
Whole Wheat Flour
This one has been the hardest for me. I am finally figuring out brands I like, and how the different types of whole wheat flour work in different recipes. I am a big fan of Bob Mill’s Flours. I have yet to find a whole wheat pizza dough recipe I love, I’ve found a few likes, but no love’s.:(
It does make the world of difference when it comes to homemade pancakes, waffles, breads and muffins. These are foods that would be very empty nutritionally if not for a good, whole wheat flour. I still keep white flour on hand, but I make sure it is unbleached.

As I reflect back on when we started changing how we ate, there was a big shift in my thinking when it came to being purposeful in choosing foods and recipes that would nourish, not just fill. You can fill a car up with gas, but the quality of the gas makes all the difference in how that car runs. Same with our bodies. I have used that analogy with my girls one too many times, because now they say roll their eyes when they hear me say it.:) We talked about how a car would crawl and sputter if filled with gas that had a bunch of sand in it, same with our bodies when it comes too much sugar and not enough vegetables, fruits and healthy, pure foods. They get it. Makes a momma proud!
I hope this post helps and is not too overwhelming. Again, if it is, just pick one and go from there.

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  • Amy
    January 25, 2010 at 5:00 am

    Thanks for your comment.
    It is crazy how much we have in common!
    I checked out your blog and was very impressed with your control journal. I have started an online version of one, need to finish it.
    Do you do flylady zone work? If so, email me and tell me how it is going. I struggle with Kelly’s missions and the zone work…not organizing zones, just cleaning them!

  • Our Lives
    January 16, 2010 at 4:10 am

    I have just found your blog through Passionate Home making through the crock-pot yogurt recipe link. I crock-pot yogurt (my own version) and am so glad to see someone else also found it easy to do. The biggest reason I am still reading your past posts is because I saw some of your Mason jar love posts! I LOVE glass jars as well (any kind) and so happy someone else felt the same way. 🙂 I also enjoy some of your recipes and so far have printed out the green smoothie (I follow Sara Jensen) but some how didn’t catch that smoothie recipe. I am so going out tomorrow and get all of the ingredients to make that smoothie. I like this post you wrote about changing our eating habit, one step a t a time. I have started the eating habit change since 2008. We are fine now with the switching of pasta and bread. But the brown rice is the challenging one. I will try the chicken stock of cooking it to see if my boy will like it. As with the wheat flour, I don’t bake, well, it might be changing soon as this year is my year of eating healthier and living a less is more life style. Oh, by the way I have just made a jar of Jasmine green tea concentrate in the fridge as I am trying to cut out my daily cup of coffee as well. Thanks for the great idea! Will see how it l fans out. I also noticed you wrote about the FLYlady system. I have been doing FLYlady’s system for a long time. It is a great site and the biggest thing I got out of this system is the motto of “I can organize anything – 15 minutes at a time”. Go check out my control journal. Have you made yours?
    Thank you for writing such wonderful blog. I enjoy reading it very much. Sorry it is such a long comment. Just excited to have found a common ground. Have a great weekend!

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