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Turnip the Beet! Nutrition and Wellness

Timely news, information, and innovative ideas to promote health and influence change.
whole grain lineup

Whole Grains for the Holidays

How many whole grain foods do you get during the holiday season? The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating 6 ounces of grain foods daily and getting at least half or 3 ounces of that grain intake from 100% whole grains.

Examples of 1-ounce servings of whole grains would be:

  • 1 slice whole-grain bread (such as 100% whole-wheat bread)
  • 1 cup ready-to-eat, whole-grain cereal
  • 1/2 cup cooked whole-grain cereal, brown rice, or whole-wheat pasta
  • 5 whole-grain crackers
  • 3 cups unsalted, air-popped popcorn
  • 1 6-inch whole-wheat tortilla

There are many types of whole grain products available on the market. They have rich, savory flavors and hearty textures resulting in a very satisfying food. These will add depth to any meal and keep you feeling fuller longer. The whole grains in bold are also gluten-free.







Brown Rice





Wheat Berries



Wild Rice



*Unlike many grains, quinoa has all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein! Try it in place of white rice for additional health benefits.

Protective effects against chronic disease as seen in the research1

  • In the Harvard-based Nurses' Health Study, women who ate 2 to 3 servings of whole-grain products each day were 30% less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease over a 10-year period than women who ate less than 1 serving per week.2
  • A large study of more than 72,000 postmenopausal women without diabetes at the start of the study found that the higher the intake of whole grains, the greater the risk reduction of type 2 diabetes. A 43% reduced risk was found in women eating the highest amount of whole grains (2 or more servings daily) as compared with those who ate no whole grains.3
  • A review of four large population studies also showed a protective effect of whole grains from colorectal cancer, with a cumulative risk reduction of 21%.4

Ideas for Getting More Whole Grains during the Holidays
(Printable PDF Recipes of the following)

1. Try popping other grains besides corn for a fun snack. Sorghum, amaranth and quinoa can be popped just like corn. They aren't as large as popped corn but will add a nutty flavor when added to things like salads, wraps, a topping for casserole or baked breads. You can also add them to trail mix and homemade cereals.

2. Do you normally have a tray of meat, cheese, and olives out for holiday events? Try turning your antipasto into a whole grain-rich dish with the addition of cooked barley. I assure your guests will love the Barley Antipasto Salad!

3. Citrus always comes to mind for the holiday season because I could count on a clementine or orange in my stocking each year. You've probably heard of the salad, tabbouleh, which features bulgur wheat, lots of parsley, mint, lemon and olive oil. You may also like the Citrus-Scented Bulgur Salad which incorporates dried fruits, grated carrots, lemon and orange juice.

4. Looking for a low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes? You must try the Millet and Cauliflower Mash. With only a few ingredients, this recipe is hard not to love. The millet breaks apart when cooking and blends well with the cooked cauliflower. Add a little olive oil, garlic and parsley and your guests will be begging for more.

5. Don't forget about breakfast! Blueberries are always a great addition during winter months and can be added frozen to both of these recipes: Blueberry-Chia Overnight Oats and Wheat Germ Berry Pancakes. Super simple recipes with great flavor and texture. Eating these will keep you feeling energized for whatever the holidays throw at you.

*Follow the link above for these recipes and additional flavor combinations.

Have a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!




1. Harvard School of Public Health. The Nutrition Source- Whole Grains. Available at

2. Liu S, Stampfer MJ, Hu FB, et al. Whole-grain consumption and risk of coronary heart disease: results from the Nurses' Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;70:412-9.

3. Parker ED, Liu S, Van Horn L, et al. The association of whole grain consumption with incident type 2 diabetes: the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study. Ann Epidemiol. 2013;23:321-7.

4. Aune D, Chan DS, Lau R, et al. Dietary fibre, whole grains, and risk of colorectal cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMJ. 2011;343:d6617.

4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at

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