Focus on Food

Celebrate Whole Grains Month!

September 28th, 2015

whole grains monthExcerpt from

Now here’s some good health news: Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they are heeding the Dietary Guidelines advice to “make at least half your grains whole,” with the majority of Americans eating more whole grains than they did five years ago.

The Boston-based non-profit Oldways Whole Grains Council (WGC) released these findings and others from the 2015 Whole Grains Consumer Insights Survey in time for September’s Whole Grains Month.

“For years, most people came nowhere close to whole grain recommendations, so it is encouraging to see that many are now benefiting from switching more of the grains they eat to whole grains,” said Cynthia Harriman, director of food and nutrition strategies, Oldways Whole Grains Council. “The next step is tempting Americans to expand their whole grain palates beyond bread, cereal and brown rice to delicious grains like spelt, farro, amaranth and teff.”

The push toward whole grains comes as studies show that eating whole grains lowers the risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. Other benefits include reduced risk of asthma, healthier blood pressure levels, and better weight control which you can also achieve using supplements according to the Resurge Reviews.

For the survey, the Oldways Whole Grains Council asked Americans about their whole grain habits and here’s what they found:

Whole grain consumption is up!
  • Nearly two-thirds, or 64 percent (64%), have increased whole grain consumption “some” or “a lot” in the last 5 years.
  • Whole grain lovers really love their whole grains. In fact, 2 in 3 respondents who nearly always choose whole grains now have increased their whole grain consumption a great deal compared to 5 years ago.
Choosing whole grains more often
  • Almost one-third of respondents (31%) say they nearly always choose whole grains. Five years ago, just 4 percent would have said this.
  • Another 32 percent choose whole grains about half the time.
  • That means 63 percent are making more than half their grains whole, good news since the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, due out this fall, are expected to continue with this recommendation as they have since 2005.
Whole grains are popular morning fuel
  • Breakfast remains the biggest eating occasion for whole grains, followed by dinner and then lunch. On average, 37 percent of daily whole grains are consumed at breakfast, 27 percent at dinner, 22 percent at lunch and just 14 percent as snacks.
  • People eat nearly 30 percent more whole grain breakfast cereal (hot or cold) than refined.
Health messages are getting through
  • Nearly 9 out of 10 (86%) of those who consume whole grains do so for the health benefits.
  • Forty percent (40%) choose whole grains because they enjoy the taste.
  • Cost was named as the leading barrier to eating more whole grains (39%).
  • Availability can also be a barrier (28%) – as many restaurants don’t offer whole grain choices.
Gluten confusion
  • Few fully understand gluten. While more than 1 in 3 identify gluten as a protein and 1 in 5 know it makes dough rise, only 4 percent correctly selected both (and no other options).
  • Twenty-one percent (21%) incorrectly think gluten is in all grains. In fact, gluten-free doesn’t mean grain free – even those following a gluten-free diet can enjoy grains such as amaranth, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, sorghum, teff, and wild rice.
  • 93 percent eat gluten some or all of the time. Of the 7 percent who completely avoid gluten, only 1 in 5 has a medically-diagnosed problem with gluten.

Top 5 Favorite Whole Grain Foods

  1. Whole Wheat Bread (31%)
  1. Oatmeal (27%)
  1. Popcorn (15%)
  1. Whole Grain Cold Cereal (15%)
  1. Whole Grain Pasta (8%)


Whole Grains Month in September is the perfect time to explore lesser known grain options (or old favorites!) and “Share the Goodness” of delicious whole grains in person – and online. To celebrate Whole Grains Month, WGC is launching a “Share the Goodness of Whole Grains” Instagram photo contest, running September 1-30, 2015. To enter, follow the Whole Grains Council on Instagram (@Whole_Grains_Council) then upload your photo with a description telling how you shared your whole grain goodies with others using the hashtag #ShareWholeGrains. In addition, every week throughout the month of September, a random #ShareWholeGrains photo will be chosen and the winners will receive whole grain cookbooks, magazines and more! Start posting in September and your photo may even be regrammed by Cooking Light (@CookingLight)!

An Easy Make Ahead Meal

June 30th, 2014

It’s easy to get busy, and lose track of what you are going to make for lunch or dinner.  Here is a delicious make ahead meal that tastes great warm or cold.  Also, this recipe could take on many other forms by altering the ingredients to fit your favorites.

Here it is, a make ahead bowl with an Asian flair:



– 1lb ground chicken, cooked/browned

– 1 cup dry brown rice, cooked

– 1/2 head of green cabbage (red would work well also), stir fried in EVOO with salt, lots of black pepper, and a shot of minced garlic at the end

– 1/2 a thinly sliced red onion, cooked the same as the cabbage but without the garlic

– 1 red bell pepper, cooked the same as the cabbage and the onion

– 4 scrambled eggs, obviously cooked and scrambled, seasoned with salt and black pepper


Mix all these ingredients together in a big bowl and then add in the juice of two limes, and an entire bunch of cilantro, chopped.  Then, check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed, and if desired, soy sauce.

Eat as much or as little as you want, and save the rest for later (don’t worry…it won’t last long).  Make it fun and add crushed peanuts over the top.

Recipe Roundup – Salad Edition

June 17th, 2014

Soon it will be time to use the abundance of fresh produce growing around us!  What better way to do this than with a bunch of awesome salad recipes that help us get in a ton of fresh veggies?  The bonus to many of these recipes is that they are fairly simple, and some don’t even require you to turn on your oven as these temps are warming up!

So, here we go, let’s take a look at a few salad recipes to help us take advantage of the all the fresh produce, as well as build delicious meals for our family!

These are just four salad ideas for you to try.  What fabulous salad recipes do you enjoy?

Canning Class to be offered in July 2014

June 11th, 2014

Planning on making your own delicious sauce or salsa from all of those beautiful tomatoes that you will harvest from your garden this summer?

Learn how to safely preserve those special recipes at the Preserve Your Harvest Class taught by Deb Botzek University of Minnesota Extension scheduled for

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 from 6-8 pm

at the McLeod County Fairgrounds.

Cost: $3.00 for handouts

Please call Karen at 320-583-4419 to register.

Recipe Roundup – Smoothie Edition

May 19th, 2014

Welcome to recipe roundup!  Here we will feature some easy, healthy recipes from around the internet that don’t require a long list of ingredients, and total prep time clocks in at under 30 minutes.

This week, we will feature smoothies!  Smoothies are a great way to get a decent serving of fruits, and even veggies.  Smoothies are an excellent meal or snack in summer as well, as they are easy to digest and are a nice cool, refreshing source of nutrients.

Also, here is a fantastic resource for smoothie and shake creations from Precision Nutrition.  These nutritional powerhouses will make sure you get adequate protein, veggies and fruit, and a healthy fat to boot.  Oh yes, and they taste great.

Consider giving a smoothie or shake recipe a try this summer to see if you don’t fall in love with this concept.