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Ways to Get More Whole Grains in Your Meal Plan

Revamp your pantry to fit your diabetes meal plan by adding healthful whole grains to your cupboards -- we show you how with our easy-to-follow pantry guide.

Go Whole Grain for Your Health

Stock your pantry with whole grains to make healthful versions of items you can enjoy along with everyone else -- including brownies and cakes for occasional treats. Our guide shows you how to stock your pantry with grain-base products like bread, flour, and baking mixes.

Why go whole grain?
Replacing refined grains with whole grains may help improve blood glucose control and weight management. Plus, whole grains may reduce your risk of health issues that can accompany diabetes, such as heart disease and high blood pressure.

Check out our whole grain guide to give your pantry a healthful makeover -- without skimping on flavor.

Whole Grain Pasta

Whole grain product pick: Barilla whole grain pasta, barilla.com, 800/922-7455. Also try Dreamfields pasta or Hodgson Mill organic whole wheat pasta with flaxseed.

Make the switch: A serving of the Barilla pasta has triple the fiber of traditional refined-flour pasta (6 grams versus 2 grams of fiber per serving).

Whole Grain Rice

Whole grain product pick: Texmati brown rice, riceselect.com, 800/232-7423. Also try Uncle Ben's natural whole grain brown rice.

Make the switch: Switching to brown (whole grain) rice is an easy yet effective way to complement your diabetes meal plan -- just don't forget to measure portions.

Whole Grain Corn Bread Mix

Whole grain product pick: Bob's Red Mill stone-ground corn bread mix, bobsredmill.com, 800/349-2173. Also try Hodgson Mill corn bread mix.

Make the switch: Whole grain corn bread mixes like Bob's Red Mill are made with stone-ground cornmeal, a whole grain with extra nutrition, instead of the degerminated (refined) cornmeal in many mixes. The whole grain mix also contains whole wheat pastry flour rather than refined flour.

Whole Grain Pancake Mix

Whole grain product pick: Arrowhead Mills oat bran pancake mix, arrowheadmills.com, 800/434-4246. Also try Krusteaz wheat and honey pancake mix.

Make the switch: Arrowhead Mills' mix is an excellent source of whole grain and fiber. The pancake mix includes oat bran, which contains a soluble fiber (beta glucan) that may help lower your cholesterol. Two 5-inch pancakes have 27 grams of carbohydrate and pack 6 grams of fiber.

Whole Grain Tortilla

Whole grain product pick: La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious low-carb, high-fiber whole wheat tortillas, latortillafactory.com, 800/446-1516. Also try Mission Carb Balance tortillas.

Make the switch: It's all about portion size. Switch from large, refined-flour tortillas to small, low-carb, high-fiber whole wheat tortillas (each 50-calorie tortilla packs 7 grams of fiber).

Whole Grain Bread

Whole grain product pick: Pepperidge Farm whole grain 15-grain bread, pepperidgefarm.com. Also try Pepperidge Farm 100 percent whole wheat small-slice bread (70 calories per slice).

Make the switch: Opt for whole grain bread instead of stone-ground wheat bread, which is made primarily of refined wheat flour (enriched bleached flour is listed as the first or main ingredient). The 15-grain Pepperidge Farm bread is 100 percent whole grain. Keep your serving to one 120-calorie slice.

Whole Grain Brownie Mix

Whole grain product pick: Baker Mills Kodiak Cakes Big Bear brownies, kodiakcakes.com, 801/274-1191. Also try Pillsbury reduced-sugar brownie mix.

Make the switch: When the family wants brownies, bake a batch that's good for everyone. The delicious Baker Mills brownie mix is made with 100 percent whole grain flour and heart-healthy dark chocolate. (Plus, the brownies stay moist for several days after baking!)

Whole Grain Cake Mix

Whole grain product pick: Southaven Farm chocolate baking mix, southhavenfarm.com, 877/764-2836. Also try Sweet'N Low chocolate snack cake mix.

Make the switch: Southhaven Farm's baking mix is 100 percent whole grain, plus you choose the sweetener, such as Splenda granular, and the milk and yogurt to add (opt for fat-free). Made this way, a cupcake has 115 calories, 1 gram of fat, 20 grams of carbohydrate, and 4 grams of fiber.

Whole Grain Ingredient: Barley

Why you should eat it: Barley has fiber throughout the kernel, so even the quicker-cooking pearl barley (which has some bran removed) is a good source of soluble fiber, which may help lower your cholesterol. (For whole grain barley, shop for hulled or hull-less.)

How to use it: Barley takes on the flavor of whatever it is combined with. Use it in soups, stews, casseroles, side dishes, and salads.

Try barley in our Barley-Vegetable Chicken Soup

Whole Grain Ingredient: Bulgur

Why you should eat it: Bulgur, partially cooked and cracked whole wheat berries, supplies nearly the same benefits of regular whole wheat berries (fiber and other plant-base nutrients, such as antioxidants) but cooks more quickly.

How to use it: Although best known for its use in salads such as tabbouleh, bulgur also can be added to baked goods, soups, stuffings, and casseroles.

Try bulgur in our Italian Beans with Pesto

Whole Grain Ingredient: Quinoa

Why you should eat it: Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa) is one of the best sources of plant protein (with all essential amino acids), a good source of fiber, gluten-free, and high in magnesium (which your body uses to process carbohydrate).

How to use it: As simple to cook as rice (after a quick rinse to remove residue), quinoa works in risotto, pilaf, and salad or as a side dish instead of rice.

Try quinoa in our Corn and Bean Quinoa Pilaf

Whole Grain Ingredient: White Whole Wheat Flour

Why you should eat it: White whole wheat flour has the same nutritional value (including fiber) and baking properties as traditional whole wheat flour made from red wheat, but it has a lighter color and milder flavor.

How to use it: Try substituting one-third to one-half of the all-purpose flour in recipes (such as pizza crust and muffins) with white whole wheat flour.

Try white whole wheat flour in our Upside-Down Orange Carrot Cake

Whole Grain Ingredient: Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

Why you should eat it: Whole wheat pastry flour is commonly milled from soft white wheat (rather than the hard red wheat used for bread flour) and is finely ground, yet it retains the nutritional advantages of the whole grain berry.

How to use it: Whole wheat pastry flour works well in cakes, muffins, scones, pancakes, piecrusts, and any items that require a fine, soft flour.

Try whole wheat pastry flour in our Miniature Ginger-Spiced Chocolate Cakes

Whole Grain Ingredient: Whole Wheat Flour

Why you should eat it: Whole wheat flour is higher in fiber and antioxidants than its refined counterpart (all-purpose flour).

How to use it: Substitute up to one-half of the all-purpose flour in recipes with whole wheat flour.

Try whole wheat flour in our Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Bread

Whole Grain Ingredient: Oatmeal

Why you should eat it: Eating foods with soluble fiber, the type of fiber in oats, helps to regulate blood glucose levels. Soluble fiber also has been shown to decrease total blood cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol.

How to use it: Seek out recipes that call for oatmeal (many cookies, cakes, and breads include it). Enjoy a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast as a great way to start your day.

Try oatmeal in our Oatmeal-Applesauce Cake

Whole Grain Ingredient: Whole Rye Flour

Why you should eat it: Rye flour is higher in bran, minerals, and fiber than wheat flour. It is also low in gluten.

How to use it: Whole rye flour has an intense flavor and will reduce the rise of your bread. It's ideal for making dark rye breads.

Try whole rye flour in our Flaxseed and Rye Breadsticks

Whole Wheat Flour 101

Here's help sifting through the three most common types of whole wheat flour. They're equally nutritious, so use whichever fits your needs best.

  • Whole wheat flour: Widely available in stores, it's made from red wheat, the most common type of wheat grown in the United States.

    Use it: Replace up to half of the all-purpose flour in recipes. Try it in yeast breads and pizza crusts for hearty results.

  • White whole wheat flour: Increasingly sold in stores, it's milled from white wheat, a strain of wheat grown in Australia for more than 100 years.

    Use it: It bakes the same as regular whole wheat flour, but its lighter color and milder flavor may be more appealing to people new to whole wheat.

  • Whole wheat pastry flour: It's generally made from soft white wheat and is finely ground, yet it retains all of the nutritional advantages of the whole grain.

    Use it: Try it in cakes, muffins, scones, pancakes, piecrusts, and other goodies where you want a fine, soft texture.

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