For decades, nutritionists, physicians, and even our mothers have been pressuring us to include whole grain foods into our diet. After taking a look at the health benefits of whole grains, it’s understandable. Whole grains boast a litany of health benefits which include lowering the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Whole grains are also high in fiber which helps to regulate digestion and helps with weight loss. If you’re looking to add whole grain foods into your diet, here are a few tips on how you can accomplish that.

Side Dishes

Instead of going for your usual side dishes at dinner time, try cooking up a serving of brown rice instead. Brown rice is rich in several nutrients, dietary fiber, and essential fatty acids. If you don’t like rice, try a whole grain pasta instead. Similar to brown rice, it is also rich in nutrients and fiber and gives you a boost of energy. You could also replace part of your meal with a healthy salad.

Salads are more filling than people give them credit for, and almost every ingredient is good for you! The best part is that they have an incredibly versatile flavor portfolio. You can find a salad to go with any other dish you can think up. If you do choose to use your salads as a side, remember to cut back on the sauce that you use with them. It can be tempting to slather your salad in that delicious raspberry vinaigrette, but that’s where most of the calories come from. Limit yourself to some oil and vinegar in moderation and you’ll see the benefits for sure.

Breads

Whether you enjoy bagels, croissants, dinner rolls, muffins, or regular slices of bread, always try to buy bread items that have been made with whole wheat flour or other whole grain flours such as quinoa, oats, barley, kamut, or spelt. Switching your daily bread item to a whole grain bread item can make a world of difference.

Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it’s important to start it out with a healthy dose of whole grains. A great way to get your morning dose of whole grains is with a bowl of steel-rolled oatmeal or with a bowl of cereal made from whole grains. Add some fresh fruit and a splash of almond milk for a delicious and healthy start to your day.

Hot cereal like oatmeal, cracked wheat, or cream of wheat can also be a great addition to your daily diet.

Snacks

No great day is complete without a tasty snack to get us through the mid-afternoon energy slump. Instead of reaching for a bag of salty, oily chips or sugar-loaded candy, try a snack centered on some whole grain crackers. To dress up the crackers, try adding a slice of healthy parmesan or aged cheddar cheese and chunks of seasoned turkey breast.

It always seems so difficult when we first decide to change our diet, but when you break down the change into smaller steps, it becomes so much simpler to do. Even something as simple as buying bread from a non-generic label like the Klosterman Baking Company or someone similar when you go shopping instead of buying name brands. The reward of learning how to incorporate whole grains into your diet will be immeasurably valuable to your health and longevity.