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Easy ways to add more grains to your diet

Grains are an important part of any healthy diet. Packed with essential nutrients that can be hard to get from other food groups, like iron, fibre and B vitamins, they also help reduce blood cholesterol, may lower the risk of heart disease and keep you fuller longer. Yet many of us still aren’t consuming enough grains.

According to a recent survey by Grain Farmers of Ontario, although 90 per cent of Canadians found fibre to be the most important nutrient to include in their daily diet, only 65 per cent ensure it’s included in their diet plans. While one in five millennial’s consume four or more grain-based products on an average day, only 8 per cent of seniors do.

Here are some quick tips and ideas to add more grains to your diet:

Check your plate. An excellent rule of thumb is to divide up your plate to make sure you’re getting the right amounts of everything you need to stay healthy. Fill up half with fruits and vegetables, a quarter with lean proteins and a quarter with grains.

Try a new recipe. Warmer weather is a great excuse to experiment in the kitchen with a new recipe for those summertime get-together’s. Add foods like barley, whole wheat pasta, wheat berries, or brown or wild rice for a filling and nutritious meal. Look online or through your favourite magazines for inspiration that’s high in grains.

Boost your snacking. Instead of reaching for the vending machine at work, pack some appetizing snacks at home that will satisfy your sweet or salty cravings. Try mixing oats and soy butter in an energy ball or grabbing a couple handfuls of trail mix. Mixing your favourite cereal with pretzels, raisins and nuts satisfies the sweet and salty. You can also dip veggies, pretzels or whole wheat crackers into homemade hummus.