Real Food Tips: 6 Ways to Ease the Switch to Whole Grain

I used to exclusively be a white bread girl. Before our switch to real food I would have rather skipped bread all together (and did on many occasions) than eat store-bought “whole-wheat” bread. So the point is I understand it’s not easy to transition from the taste and texture of white bread to whole-wheat, which is exactly why I want to share these tips with you. If you have any other advice please share it in the comments below!

  1. Don’t settle for mediocre whole-grain products.
    One of the reasons I used to despise whole-wheat sandwich bread was because I’d never tried “good” bread before. Even today I would not like the taste of packaged grocery store whole-grain bread that can contain as many as 40 ingredients (including lots of unnecessary additives). This type of bread was designed to have a long shelf life…not to taste good. So skip the supermarket and look into your local bakery options instead. Or if you’re really handy in the kitchen try making some homemade bread yourself! It only takes 4 or 5 ingredients to make “real” whole-wheat sandwich bread.
  1. Go for a lighter variety of wheat.
    When baking, try using King Arthur’s White Whole-Wheat Flour as opposed to just straight up whole-wheat flour. Even though it has the word “white” on the label this flour is not a trick. It is still 100% whole-grain it’s just made from a lighter variety of wheat than typical whole-wheat flours, and it’s a great place to start if you prefer the taste of white flour.
  1. Mix the old with the new.
    If whole-wheat pasta is getting shunned at your house then try mixing both white and whole wheat pasta together for a few weeks. You could even start small by only making a third or a quarter of the dish be whole-wheat pasta. The bottom line is eating some whole grains is better than none! This same tactic could be applied to both brown rice and whole-grain flour as well.
  1. Branch out and try some new grains all together.
    If your family is really pushing back on making the switch to whole-grain pasta and rice then how about trying a new grain all together? Take a break from the usual and cook some quinoa, whole-wheat couscous, barley, or whole-grain polenta for a side dish instead.
  1. Add some character.
    Even the most die hard real foodies get tired of plain brown rice so try to switch things up a bit by mixing in a sauce (like soy sauce or homemade cheese sauce), adding some spices (like cilantro or garlic), or throwing in some toasted nuts/seeds (like almonds or sesame seeds). Changing the flavor can make it a whole new side dish.
  1. Use a sweet disguise.
    Ease your family into whole-grain by disguising them in foods that are on the sweeter side. Instead of just going for the basics like pasta and rice try making some whole-grain blueberry muffins, sweet zucchini bread, or banana pancakes. With all the added spices and the help of some honey (or overly ripe bananas) maybe no one will even notice that something is different. Please just do me a favor and tell them what was in it afterward! :)

P.S. – Today is the last day to get the “lunchbox meal plan” deal from The Fresh 20!


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  • Comments

    1. Sharon |

      I’ve always liked whole-grain grains, breads and pastas better than white, but it took some time for my husband to get used to them. Now he’s the same way — we just skip the white stuff. Not because they’re “bad” for us but we just find them boring. Thank goodness we were already eating these when we had kids, because they just started out on whole grains and didn’t know the difference. So much easier that way, but I think for anyone it is like so many food habits that take time to change. You have to keep at it while your tastes adjust — the way the 100 Days of Real Food worked for Lisa’s family.

      We don’t drink sweet drinks and actually prefer water, milk, tea or coffee to anything else. Just got used to that and we aren’t deprived, it is just the way we eat! A occasional soda or sweet tea becomes a real treat instead of a constant thing.

      Thank you, Lisa, for the reminder about making bread. My machine is dusty because I have made some real bricks in it…and in 2014 I would like to conquer homemade bread! I’ll see if you’ve got some recipes to try…:)

      • Sandi |

        Sharon, you may want to check out They have lots of posts with suggestions for “fixing” bread mistakes. Overly dense WW bread is a popular topic! I also got lots of good tips from Micheal Pollan’s book “Cooked”. Good luck!

    2. Abby |

      My mom has been making whole wheat bread all of my life.She literally grinds the grain herself.She recently found out that grain has a protective acid(I can’t remember what it’s called)that hardly lets your body absorb any of the beneficial vitamins from whole grain.Apparently,you need to combine it with one(I think..maybe a couple more) of the beneficial bacteria found amongst the five in yogurt.Yeast made the way it has been made for centuries contains the bacteria necessary for the correct digestion of grain.Yeast from the store is unfortunately lab made so it no longer contains the delicate bacteria for the sake of contamination.You can buy natural yeast flakes online and make your own yeast.It has to be fed with ground wheat,sugar,and water I believe about three times a day.The bread comes out with a sourdough taste.It has been a revelation for my mom because she has been making the same bread for over 20 years until she found this out and has now started making it this way.I would assume whole grain could be digested the way it was intended when eaten with yogurt,but that is an amateur assumption.Anyways,thought you might like to know.I wish modern food was as innocent as advertised :/

    3. Joy Gammill |

      We’ve had no problem switching to WW but every recipe I’ve tried here has been super dry. So dry that they are difficult to swallow! Am I not doing something right or do I need to add some milk or something?!? I really want these to work for us as we are truly trying to be less “highly processed!”

    4. kelly |

      I am good with wheat bread and rice but I am having a hard time with wheat pasta. Does anybody have any tips?

      • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

        Hi Kelly. Do you just mean you are having a difficult time finding one you like? You may need to try different brands but it also may just take a bit of time to adjust to a new flavor and texture. :)

    5. cristina |

      what if i do not have a bread machine?

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