If you are considering making positive changes to your diet, you may want to consider adding whole foods into the recipes you cook. Whole foods are foods that come from natural sources and are not refined with processed ingredients. Eating whole foods can be useful for improving digestion as well as disease prevention. Below is a collection of tips on how you can easily add whole foods to your daily menu.
1. Gradually Introduce Whole Foods
Whole foods do not taste like processed foods. Start by swapping out something small that you already enjoy eating. This way it is more familiar to you. A simple swap might be eating wild rice (whole food) instead of white rice (processed and refined food). Or, if you enjoy toast for breakfast, you can change the type of bread you eat. Toss out the white bread (refined and processed) for whole grain bread (whole food). The conversion to eating whole foods does not have to be a big change. If you start small, it won’t feel as strange.
2. Create Shortcuts
Whole foods take longer to prepare. By making snacks and meals in advance, you can save time. Taking shortcuts can help too. For example, beans can be soaked in advance while you are doing other tasks and chores. You can also try swapping out traditional noodles for ready-made wheat noodles and using them in spaghetti or lasagna. Most grocery stores have a whole foods section in the pasta aisle.
3. Snacks Can Be Convenient
Whole foods don’t always take a lot of time to prepare. Popcorn is a whole food too, and it only takes a few moments to pop. Whole-grain crackers are another fantastic time-saver and they come in a wide variety of flavors.
4. Slow Cooker Success
If you can’t spend all day in the kitchen, try a slow cooker. In it you can soak your beans all day while you’re at work. This way, when you get home your food is ready to eat. Cooking while you are away can open up a wide variety of meal options from savory stews to homemade chili variations. You are bound to find something you and your family will love.
5. Store Leftovers
Don’t be afraid to store your leftovers. It’s a great way to both save time and money. Simply buy a freezer-safe container (to be sure it seals properly) and store it in the freezer for another day. Most foods keep anywhere from three to six months safely.
6. Use Leftovers in New Ways
Are you bored eating the same recipes over and over again? Branch out and try adding new ingredients to your favored leftovers and see what new recipes you can create! Toss leftovers in a burrito wrap or create a splendid new variety of chili. The options are limitless.
7. Add Whole Foods to Old Favorites
For a new twist on an old favorite, try adding whole foods to your pancakes. Just a handful of barley, millet, or oat flour will give your old foods a facelift, and you’ll be reaping the benefits that consuming whole foods offers. It’s also an excellent way to introduce eating whole foods to children on a daily basis. Macaroni and cheese can be homemade with whole grain noodles instead of regular noodles made from white flour.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New
In some cases, whole foods take time to develop a taste for, so don’t be afraid to try something you may not have tried before. Quinoa is available in different colors. It is considered an “Ancient Grain.” Brown rice is a wonderful addition to recipes requiring white rice. If the flavor is throwing you, try adding a hint of salt and butter. Experiment with other additives until you find the right flavor for you.
As a word of caution, not all products are whole grain. Watch out for those listed as multigrain. The FDA claims the term “all-natural” has no meaning. Only products made in the United States that contain one or more whole grains of eight different varieties are considered genuinely whole grain. Be sure to read labels carefully before deciding to make a purchase. Sometimes labels can be misleading. Check every label and explore the many different options of whole foods. Living a healthier lifestyle benefits everyone, and it will give you the energy you need to get through the day.