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September is a very special month for us here at Oldways and the Whole Grains Council. Although we celebrate the delicious taste of whole grains twelve months of the year, our enjoyment of whole grains rises to new heights in September, which is oﬃcially National Whole Grains Month.
We had no idea, when we ﬁrst established Whole Grains Month in 2007, that it would catch on so quickly and so well. Google Whole Grains Month in 2014 and you’ll see that the 8th annual observance is recognized by the US Department of Agriculture, lots of schools like this one, manufacturers (with free oﬀers even — here’s one for restaurants!), public health departments, foodservice operators (the graphic pictured here is from Compass’ Eurest division) and bloggers, among others.
How are YOU planning to celebrate Whole Grains Month? If you somehow didn’t make plans weeks ago, we’d like to oﬀer you our top ten ideas:
1. Enter our contest, and try some new recipes
Sixteen of our favorite bloggers and dietitians have partnered with the Whole Grains Council to make whole grain versions of some of their favorite recipes. We invite you to check out their tasty recipes, and vote for your favorites. At the end of the month, we’ll be picking one lucky voter at random, to win $500 and a selection of great whole grain foods.
2. Convince your co-workers
If your co-workers routinely share doughnuts and cookies in the break room, here’s your chance to help them Make the Switch to healthier whole grains. Make your favorite whole grain recipe, and leave it on the break room table with a note inviting everyone to help themselves.
3. Make whole grain pita pizzas
Get your kids on board with whole grains, by planning a family pizza night. Start with whole grain pita bread, then pile on the tomato sauce, cheese, and lots of vegetables (veggies are great for decorating pizzas with smiley faces or designs!) Studies show when kids help cook they’re willing to try more new foods. Check out our recipe and video.
4. Try a new grain
Have you ever tried teﬀ, or amaranth? How about sprouted wheat? When’s the last time you had wild rice? We list fourteen diﬀerent grains on our website. We dare you to try all fourteen before September 30th.
5. Check out the health beneﬁts
Maybe you’re the cerebral type, and your idea of a good time is to check out the research supporting the health beneﬁts of whole grains. Visit our Health Studies page, and see how many diﬀerent beneﬁts you can discover, that have been associated with increased whole grain consumption.
6. Look for the Whole Grain Stamp
The Whole Grain Stamp is on almost 10,000 products in 41 countries, making it easy for everyone to ﬁnd foods that oﬀer a signiﬁcant contribution to their daily whole grain needs. Look for the Stamp whenever you buy grain foods, and see how many Stamped products you can ﬁnd during September.
7. Watch a Whole Grain Video
A picture’s worth a thousand words, and maybe a fun video is just what you need to get you inspired to try a new whole grain recipe. We’ve just updated the videos on the Whole Grains Council site – and you can ﬁnd tons more on YouTube. (Tell us about your favorites!)
8. Just Ask for Whole Grains at Restaurants
Restaurants everywhere – from ﬁne dining to quick serve – are serving more whole grains these days. You can make sure they stay on the menu by ordering whole grain choices. And if whole grains aren’t on the menu? If you only see white rice or white bread on the menu, ask for whole grain anyway. You’ll probably get it – and even if you don’t, you’ve reminded the restaurant that people really do want whole grains. How will they know, if you don’t tell them loud and clear?
9. Bring us your Questions
Our Whole Grains Hotline is open year-round, but maybe you’ve been saving up your burning questions about whole grains. Whole Grains Month is the perfect time to get the answers to all your questions, from the WGC’s Registered Dietitian, Kelly Toups.
10. Pat Yourself on the Back
If you’re already making most or all of your grains whole grains – and making sure to include plenty of intact grains – take a minute to appreciate your own eﬀorts. You deserve the best, and the Whole Grains Council salutes you for being careful about the foods you invite into your body. Kudos to everyone who regularly consumes whole grains. (Cynthia)