When I first started introducing whole grains to my kids, I have to admit I was a bit sneaky. I’d use white whole wheat bread in French toast, sandwiches and grilled cheese. I also made fried rice using brown rice since I figured my kids would think the rice was brown because of the soy sauce.
Over time my kids have gotten used to heartier whole grains, whole grain bread and whole grain pasta. In fact, last fall, one of my sons actually reported back that he chose the brown bread over white bread for his sandwich at school because he had a cross country meet that afternoon. See, kids actually do pay attention more than we think.
What made me decide to transition my kids to whole grains you might ask? The reason is simple: I want to instill healthy eating habits in my kids while they’re still living at home. After all, whole grains can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend all of us consume half or more of our grains as whole grain, with adults and kids age 9 and up, getting at least 3 to 5 servings of whole grains every day. For younger children, the recommendation is 2 to 3 servings or more. A serving size is an ounce, which equals one slice of bread, a half cup of cooked grain, or a half cup cooked pasta. Fortunately, there are lots of high-quality whole grain products on the market today. Whole grain bread isn’t the rock hard bread I remember from my childhood, and whole grain pastas are available that are more kid friendly.
Barilla® Whole Grain Pasta was one of the first whole grain pastas I introduced to my kids. Made with 51% whole wheat, Barilla® Whole Grain Pasta is all-natural, and has 3 times the fiber (6 grams dietary fiber in one serving) than regular pasta (2 grams dietary fiber). What I like about it is that this whole grain pasta looks and tastes more like the regular pasta kids are used to, making it an easy way to add whole grains and fiber to my family’s diet. Barilla® actually has a taste guarantee-if you don’t love it, you get a free box of their regular pasta. When introducing whole grain foods like brown rice or pasta to your family’s diet, I do think it’s important to choose the right ingredients to compliment the textures and heartier flavor of whole grains. For example, I’ve found that spices and briny sauces like soy sauce, oyster sauce and fish sauce work nicely with brown rice, especially when making fried rice.
When serving whole grain pasta, bold, flavorful, heartier sauces and deep-colored sauces work best. For example, a hearty Puttanesca Sauce, Bolognese Sauce, Tomato Paste Sauce, or Italian Tuna Sauce would all go perfectly with whole grain pasta.
One tip I’d offer up when cooking whole grain pasta–be sure to cook it al dente. Don’t overcook it; otherwise it will break down, and the consistency will be mushy. To test this theory of using bold flavorful sauces with whole grain pasta, I made Stir-Fry Chinese Noodles with Chicken, Shitake Mushrooms and Vegetables the other night, which had soy sauce and oyster sauce as seasonings. When my boys asked what was for dinner, I simply said, “Chinese noodles with chicken.” No one asked what kind of pasta I used, and I didn’t volunteer it.
As I said in a recent post, sometimes things are best left unsaid (at least until after the first few bites). No leftovers. I think that says it all.
For more information on Barilla® Whole Grain pasta products, check out their entire Whole Grain product line (6 shapes), the Whole Grain Taste Challenge and Whole Grain Dinner Kit for healthy recipe ideas. What do you love about Barilla® Whole Grain? And now for the giveaway…(This Giveaway Is Now Closed)
One winner will receive a $100 Amazon.com gift card.
No duplicate comments (entrants cannot enter the same comment twice in order to win). You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
1) Leave a comment answering this question: What do you love about Barilla® Whole Grain?
3) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to your post in a comment on this post
4) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. This sweepstakes runs from 2/21/12 – 3/30/12. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. Be sure to visit the Barilla® Whole Grain round-up page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. As always, I only share brands I use and love!
More posts on healthy eating and whole grains:
Whole Grains 101 – Why Whole Grains?
10 Kid-Approved Recipes with Whole Grains
The New 2010 Federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans – Foods and Nutrients to Increase
The New 2010 Federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans – Foods and Food Components to Reduce