Liz Weiss: Hi! I am Liz Weiss, registered dietitian, cookbook author and family nutrition expert. Healthy convenient and budget friendly meals start with a whole grain foundation and lucky for all of us, whole grains combine well with other healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafood and soy foods.
You can enjoy whole grains on any budget and thanks to their amazing versatility; you can have a different and delicious low-cost meal every day of the week. Let me give you a few examples.
Try orange chicken and vegetable rice bowls, made with bell peppers, broccoli and carrots or primavera pasta salad made with lots of vegetables and whole wheat penne pasta.
Here are some of my favorite budget-friendly cooking and shopping tips to help you make half your grains, whole grains. Cook once and eat all week. Cooked brown or wild rice, quinoa and pasta can be stored in the refrigerator for three to five days and cooked rice can even be frozen for up to six months.
When whole wheat pasta, brown rice, bulgur or quinoa are on sale, stock up and use them in soups, stews, salads, casseroles or stirfries. You can also buy them in bulk and then store in a cool dry place in your kitchen.
At breakfast try oatmeal, whole grain cereal, whole wheat toast or a whole grain breakfast burrito. They are easy to prepare and inexpensive. Substitute a whole grain product for a refined grain product or combine cooked whole grains with refined grains in one simple dish.
Eating grains, especially whole grains, provides health benefits. People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions.
Enriched and whole grains provide nutrients, such as B vitamins and minerals and they are vital for the health and maintenance of our bodies and whole grains also provide dietary fiber.
When choosing grains for your plate, consider the many types available to you and choose a variety that fit your budget. Eating an assortment of grains can ensure that you get more nutrients in your diet, especially fiber and they help to make your meals and snacks more interesting and exciting.