Whole Grains Offer Many Nutritional Benefits

IN THE KITCHEN

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The recently revised 2005 USDA Dietary Guidelines and new food guidance system, MyPyramid, advises us to get at least three or more ounce-equivalents of whole grains per day. Why? Whole grains offer many nutritional benefits, including protection from various forms of cancer and prevention of heart disease.

With people looking for new ways to incorporate whole grains into their diets, traditional fiber-filled crispbreads are enjoying new popularity.

Traditional crispbread like Wasa, named after a famous Swedish king and baked from an Old World recipe, can be a great source of whole grains any time of the day. Just two slices of crispbread, such as Wasa Multi Grain, provide at least one serving of whole grains.

Low in fat and calories, crunchy and delicious, crispbread is a pantry staple that you can always have on hand for quick meals or snacks, or to accompany a soup or salad.

Whole grain crispbread, which has no trans fats or sugar, can be enjoyed for breakfast with yogurt and fresh berries, at lunch with smoked turkey and avocado, plain or flavored in place of your bread at dinner, or as a snack with Cheddar cheese and fresh apple slices.

The publication, "Wasa: Whole Grains for Wholesome Living," containing 16 delicious, inventive crispbread recipes and healthy lifestyle tips, can be ordered by calling 1-800-924-9272 or downloaded at www.wasa-usa.com.

Yogurt, Berries and Pecans on Crispbread

Prep time: 10 minutes, serves 3

3 pieces Wasa Multi Grain Crispbread (may substitute any variety)

1/3 cup low-fat vanilla or plain yogurt

1/4 cup raspberries

1/4 cup blueberries

1/4 cup blackberries

1/3 cup pecans, slightly chopped

Fresh mint leaves to garnish

Spread yogurt on crispbread. Top with equal amounts of berries and pecans.

Garnish with fresh mint if desired.

Store remaining ingredients in refrigerator 4 to 5 days.

TIP: Substitute your favorite berries and nuts or your favorite yogurt.

Crispbread With Parmesan-Herb Seasoning

Prep time: 10 minutes, serves 12

12 pieces Wasa Oat Crispbread (may substitute Multi Grain, Sourdough Rye or Hearty Rye)

1 tablespoon chopped basil

1 teaspoon chopped marjoram

1 teaspoon chopped thyme

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix herbs and oil in small bowl. Brush mixture onto crispbread.

Mix cheese with salt and pepper to taste in separate small bowl. Sprinkle mixture on crispbread.

Place crispbread on prepared baking sheet and bake 5 to 7 minutes.

Turkey and Avocado on Crispbread

Prep time: 15 minutes, serves 3

3 pieces Wasa Hearty Rye Crispbread (may substitute any variety)

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup finely minced tomatoes

2 tablespoons finely minced purple onion

1 tablespoon chopped Italian (flat leaf) parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 thin slices Havarti cheese

3 slices turkey breast

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

Combine olive oil, tomatoes, onion, parsley, salt and pepper in small bowl. Mix and set aside.

Place 1 slice Havarti cheese, 1 slice turkey breast and 3 slices avocado on each crispbread. Top with tomato and onion mixture.

TIP: Substitute your favorite lunch meat for turkey, and favorite cheese for Havarti.

Five Tips for Wholesome Living

Nutrition expert and registered dietitian Ellie Krieger recommends five key ways to make healthy changes in your lifestyle:

  • Start with small changes.

Make just one small dietary change each week and you'll be amazed at the difference over time. Change number one: Switch from "white" breads and crackers to whole grains, like crispbreads.

  • Eat mindfully.

Whether you're having a full meal or a quick snack, slow down enough to fully enjoy and experience your food. Notice the full range of flavors, textures and aromas. You'll not only enjoy your food more, you'll most likely eat less, and improve your digestion.

  • Eat breakfast every day.

Breakfast eaters have more brain power, manage their weight better and get more essential nutrients than those who skip this most-important-meal-of-the-day. For a quick breakfast, try topping crispbread with peanut butter and sliced banana, low-fat cottage cheese and sliced strawberry, or chopped hard-boiled egg and tomato.

  • Snack strategically.

One or two well-timed, healthy snacks each day can help keep your energy up and prevent sugar cravings. Crispbread topped with low-fat mozzarella and tomato with a drizzle of olive oil, hummus spread and sweet red pepper, or turkey breast with mustard and cucumber are perfect smart-snacks that are easy to eat on the go.

  • Stock your cupboard and refrigerator.

Just because you are pressed for time doesn't mean you can't eat well. Simply stock your cupboard and refrigerator with easy-to-grab, healthy foods, such as individually wrapped low-fat cheeses, easy-to-carry fruit and a variety of whole grain crispbreads.

From Family Features Editorial Syndicate

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