When it comes to losing weight, most people think that you need to cut some foods out of your diet to achieve a negative energy balance. Be it reducing total calories, cutting out carbs or any other form of dietary restriction, this is by far the most common way to to attempt to achieve weight loss goals, yet the most likely way for these goals to eventually fail!
There is plenty of research that shows that long term weight loss cannot be achieved by restricting food intake. So, what is the best way to lose unwanted kilos? The answer may lie in adding foods to your diet, rather than taking away. Specifically, whole grain foods, which can help to increase satiety, maintain blood glucose levels and thereby help you to achieve healthy weight goals.
Long-term observational studies demonstrate that people who include whole grain foods are less likely to gain weight over time. Two reviews of the evidence on grain foods and weight have been published in the last five years and conclude that higher intakes of grain foods, particularly whole grains, are associated with lower body mass index, smaller waist circumference and less weight gain.
So instead of thinking about what you need to cut out, how about kick starting the year by looking at what you can add in? Dietitian and ambassador for The Healthy Grain Teri Lichtenstein, shares with us her favourite summer tips for adding whole grains into your diet.
Start your day the whole grain way
During the summer months, my whole family enjoy making a range of recipes using whole grains, fruit, dairy and a sprinking of seeds or nuts. There are so many ways to enjoy wholegrains with delicious summer berries that are in season, whether that be overnight oats, summer smoothies or one of my favourites, a layered parfait like this delicious BARLEYmax breakfast idea.
Whole grain snacks
Summer holidays always coincide with my kids being extra hungry and needing more snacks. I think it must be all the swimming and outdoor activities that make their bodies crave more energy to keep them going. I make sure that I keep a ready supply of whole grain snacks on hands, like the Barley+ range of muesli bars, or we will often make our own muesli bars, which not only are a great source of whole grains, but double as a great school holiday activity to do together. We made these BARLEYmax muesli bars recently, which are the perfect summer snack food to have on hand.
Whole grain baking and cooking
Just because a recipe does not include whole grains, doesn’t mean you cannot swop out some white, processed grains for more whole grain varieties. Most of the time the recipe will still work perfectly and you will gain the benefit of a whole grain fibre boost to your diet. Some baking / cooking ideas include:
- Switch half the white ﬂour to whole grain ﬂour in your regular recipes for cookies, muﬃns, and pancakes
- Add half a cup of uncooked oats or whole grain bread crumbs for each kg of ground meat when you make burgers for your summer bbq
- Make risottos, pilafs and other rice-like dishes with whole grains such as BARLEYmax, brown rice, bulgur, millet or quinoa
Have a look at these other great whole grain swaps that Teri has shared in the past.
Whole grain summer salads
Salads are on most summer menus, whether it be entertaining friends with a bbq or a simple family meal at home enjoyed outdoors on the deck. Grains are the perfect accompaniment to any salad and provide a great textured crunch along with a fibre boost.
Shop whole grains
Grocery stores have come a long way in the last few years and there is no shortage of whole grain varieties of products to choose from. Whether it be innovative whole grain pastas or crackers with a range of grains, we are lucky to be spoilt for choice. So, when you next do your weekly grocery shop, make it a goal to put one new whole grain product into your trolley.
What other ways do you enjoy whole grains in your diet? Let us know via our Facebook page.