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Boost Your Intake of Whole Wheat

Nutrition, From Our Kitchen

We love the Whole Grains Council, because it does so much to promote healthful eating. The organization has even developed a calendar that features a different whole grain each month of the year.

July's featured grain is one familiar to all of us: wheat. In the United States, about two-thirds of all grains consumed are some form of wheat. A large portion of that is refined wheat, which is less nutritious than whole wheat. Even enriched wheat, which has been refined but supplemented with nutrients, is not as good for us as whole wheat.

The benefits of whole wheat -- and, in fact, all whole grains -- are many: significant reductions in the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, asthma, hypertension, inflammatory disease, obesity and heart disease.

To increase the amount of whole wheat in your diet, try these ideas:

** Substitute whole wheat flour for refined, all-purpose white flour, when appropriate. Better yet, look for recipes that call for whole wheat flour, such as multi-grain breads, rolls and muffins. Expand your horizons beyond all-purpose flour -- you'll be amazed what other flour varieties are out there!

** Experiment with wheat berries. These whole wheat kernels take almost an hour to cook, but they are a delicious, nutty and healthful addition to summer salads.

** Add bulgur to your culinary repertoire. Because it has been pre-cooked, it has a shorter cooking time than many whole grains. It's delicious in a salad -- perhaps best-known as the main ingredient in tabouli, a popular Middle Eastern dish -- and in pilafs.

** Try using whole wheat pasta and couscous instead of pasta made from refined wheat.

Here is a recipe for a non-traditional tabouli with a flavorful dressing.

Asian-Inspired Tabouli Salad

The secret to this bright and tangy salad, courtesy of Sunnyland Mills, is the dressing.

Serves 4.


1/2 cup #3 coarse bulgur
1 cup water
1 16-ounce (1 pound) bag of frozen Asian vegetables (or stir-fry mix)


1/2 tsp. honey
1 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tbs. lemon juice
2 tsp. dried cilantro
1 tsp. ground ginger
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper


1. In a small saucepan, bring the bulgur and water to a boil. Cover and let sit for 25 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.

2. Place the bag of frozen vegetables in a microwave-safe dish and cook until defrosted, but not hot.

2. In a large bowl, add the honey, olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, cilantro, ginger, 2 pinches of salt and some cracked black pepper. Whisk together. Add the vegetables and the bulgur. Stir well to coat everything in the dressing. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Tips: You may use fresh vegetables, if you prefer, and simply stir-fry them briefly to the desired tenderness.

For more free recipes using whole wheat, visit the Whole Grains Council's website.

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