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Enjoy Whole Grains for a Burst of Flavor (and Nutrition!) at Meals and Snacks

Posted by Beth Peralta Cooking Healthy Eating

There are two types of grains in our diet: whole grains and refined grains. A whole grain contains the entire grain kernel and contains a much richer flavor and nutrition. Refined grains have outer layers of the grain removed during processing. Many of us eat plenty of grains (think pasta, bread, cereal, crackers, and tortillas) but are low in intake of whole grains. A great goal is to consume at least half of your grains from whole grain sources, and it can be easy to do!

Whole Grain Needs:

Whole grains are part of a balanced plate, and your own needs depend on a lot of factors – age, sex, and physical activity level being the main ones. A great tip is to make ¼ of your plate whole grains at meal time. In general, most adult women have needs between 5-6 ounce servings of grains each day (3 servings of whole grains), and most adult men have needs between 6-8 ounce servings of grains each day (3-4 servings of whole grains). For more details and other age groups, visit https://www.choosemyplate.gov/grains.

Whole Grain Sample of Options:

There are many options when it comes to whole grains. Do you see your favorite listed below? Popcorn and shredded wheat biscuits are two that are highlighted in the recipe below as part of our Tic-Tac-Taco Mix snack.

  • Whole Wheat Bread or Pasta
  • Whole Wheat Cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Brown Rice
  • Popcorn
  • Quinoa
  • Whole Grain Corn Meal or Whole Wheat Tortillas

Whole Grains Nutrition:

Whole grains provide our bodies with energy and many important nutrients for good health, including fiber and B vitamins. Fiber may help with reducing blood cholesterol levels and also can help with a regular digestive system. Whole grains also contain B vitamins, which are important for metabolism and key in forming red blood cells in the body. People that regularly eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet also may have a lower risk for chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Recipe: Tic-Tac-Taco Mix

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

- 1 and ¼ cup popped and unflavored popcorn

- ½ cup bite-size shredded wheat biscuits

- ½ cup toasted oat round cereal

- 1 Tablespoon butter

- ¼ teaspoon chili powder

- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder

- ¼ teaspoon cumin

Instructions:

  1. Mix together popcorn, wheat biscuits, and round oat cereal in a bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan, stir together butter and seasonings.
  3. Heat and stir until butter is melted.
  4. Drizzle butter and seasonings over cereal mixture and toss to mix.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 70 calories, 3.5 g fat, 50 mg sodium, 10 g total carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein

Link to Recipe Online: http://go.illinois.edu/taco_mix

Many other recipes can be found on our website, Let's Eat Health for Illinois! Easy Family-Friendly Recipes for Any Budget, at https://go.illinois.edu/inep_recipes