Last minute lady

Tips for cooking with whole grains

Everyone says you should eat more whole grains but it isn’t that easy to figure out what the heck is a whole grain and where do you fit them in to your diet? A whole grain has not had its bran and germ removed while refined grains, such as white rice and white flour have been stripped. What’s the difference? The bran and germ are the fiber that your body can’t really digest-the same fiber that is so good for your system because it fills you up, helps your body process food and it contains more nutrients than a refined grain. Thanks to the Mayo Clinic, here’s a quick cheat sheet of what’s a whole grain and what is a refined grain product:
Whole grains

Brown rice
Bulgur (cracked wheat)
Whole-wheat bread, pasta or crackers
Wild rice

Refined Grains
Corn flakes
Enriched macaroni or spaghetti
White bread (refined)
White rice

Here are some easy tips for cooking with whole grains:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think the easiest one to digest, pardon the pun, is oatmeal. Yep, that’s right, good old fashioned oatmeal is a whole grain and you can use it in so many ways. Recently I figured out that if you substitute oatmeal for all white flour or even reduce the white flour with some oatmeal when baking chocolate chip cookies, suddenly the cookie looks a whole lot healthier. Now if you add raisins and/or walnuts, you’re really getting much better off than you were when you used just plain old white flour and chocolate chips.


When I first tasted whole wheat pasta I really did not like it but I shopped around a bit and found a few brands I liked. If I can find a way to make pasta good for me, that’s incentive enough to keep trying. If you happen to have a Whole Foods near you, their 365 brand ain’t bad, and Barilla is pretty good too.

Farro or Barley

Barley is a great alternative for white rice or pasta in soups like vegetable, chicken or Minestrone. You can also cook the barley and use it for stuffing or toss it with diced red onions, cukes, black beans and carrots to make a cold salad.


It takes a bit longer to cook, but you can use brown or wild rice instead of white with most dishes. It’s an easy switch to make.

21 Responses to “Tips for cooking with whole grains”

  1. eddy says:

    Do you know about Liberté 6 Grains yogurts??? Made with buckwheat, rice, barley, wheat, rye and oats, these yogurts are perfect for breakfast or as a healthy snack. They have only 1.5% of Milk Fat with a rich texture. You should try it!!!

  2. Vanessa says:

    Rachel please help you made that pizza pasta dish with a noodle crust it was the Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner Carbonara Pizza I told my sweetie about it and now found the crust recipe not on the web site…shucks shouldda written it down but was busy with my coffee and watching you do it so missed ingredients. Can you publish that recipe?
    please please please…

  3. Here ya go Vanessa:
    BLD Carbonara Pizza
    Click this link:

  4. FAYE says:


  5. Denise says:

    I am here to inquire about the recipes of Rachaels. I love her recipes and would not say anything negative regarding these yummy foods. But what I think would be nice, is the calorie count, carbs, sodium, fat(s) contents, etc, etc. I have looked and looked, usually this information is listed right after ‘serves 4′ or however many that a recipes does serve. Am I missing it? If so, point me in the right direction. If not, anyone know where I can ask if this can be a part of her recipes?
    Under ‘contact us’ I can’t find a direct link to email someone.
    Thanks guys’n’gals

  6. melissa says:

    The best instant brown rice- is 3 minute rice by trader joes. The best- try it

  7. Margaret says:

    Everyone knows going whole grain is good for you. However, I am allergic to wheat, oats, rye and barley. There goes half my choices!

  8. Sue says:

    I was wondering if anyone knows a good way to keep brown sugar from getting too hard in the box.

    Everytime I go to use the brown sugar, its as hard as a rock.

  9. Linda says:

    Dear Denise
    I’d love to be her Dietitian and do that calculating for all her recipes! My dream job!!! LDR, R.D.

  10. Sandy says:

    for Sue…..I have a little stone I received as a gift that was purchased at a kitchen store. It is soaked in water and then put in the container of sugar….I use a plastic container. The sugar stays soft for months. I’ve also heard of putting a piece of apple in for a few days…..

  11. Rhonda says:

    Sue Says:
    October 29th, 2007 at 5:34 pm
    I was wondering if anyone knows a good way to keep brown sugar from getting too hard in the box.

    Everytime I go to use the brown sugar, its as hard as a rock.

    In response to the hard sugar You can also put a slice of bread in it. It softens right up.

  12. Janna says:

    I always take an empty jar with plastic wrap, around the lid with a screw on top. It works great for me. Good luck!!

  13. PJ says:

    I have a question about your recipes but couldn’t find a “ask a question” place on your website, so I’m hoping you can answer me here. I am a new viewer and have been watching your show whenever possible. I am going to try your Buffalo chicken Chili Mac tonight for dinner. I am on weight watchers and have reached my goal weight so I am trying to figure the points for this recipe. It says 6 servings but from what I saw on the show the servings looked very big. Please tell me in most of your recipes how big do you consider a serving? I’m quessing with this one your serving to be about 2 cups am I close? I figure I usually eat about 1 cup of meals like this which would make it 5-6 points which is just right. I love buffalo wings but they have a big point value, so I think this recipe sounds like something my husband and myself can enjoy without the guilt. Thanks I enjoy your show. PJ

  14. Karen Russo says:

    My sister(Debbie)just called me and asked what I put in my meat loaf…..she just got home from work(works the night shift)and thought she was adding bread crumbs, but her husband(Marty)saw her putting in oatmeal……he wanted her to vacuum it out, even though all the other ingredients were in…..onions, green pepper, salt ‘n pepper….lol…..she wanted to know what to do……well, I always add oatmeal, as that’s what our mom always used… that so bad? to use oatmeal? Her hubby said she may as well add raisins to the meat loaf…..he was just pulling her leg!! I would like to get some feed back on this……thanks

  15. Doris says:

    Brown sugar as I know it has alway’s been hard try this it’s alway’s worked for me put 1 cup of water in the microwave along with your bag of brown sugar for about a minute or two and there ya have it soft brown sugar

  16. Diane says:

    I always put oatmeal in my meatloaf. It has more nutrients than bread crumbs. No one can tell the difference.

  17. Susan says:

    For Karen:

    I have always used oatmeal in my meatloaf, except when there’s none in the pantry. The first time that happened, my daughters wanted to know what was wrong with the meatloaf. They said it was okay, but just wasn’t mom’s meatloaf. And what ever it was that you did, please, don’t do it again. This taught me not to run out of oatmeal. Now, my meatloaf stays right up there with my Hamburger Soup.

    Hope your sister, Debbie and Marty enjoyed their meatloaf.

  18. laSiciliana says:

    use barley instead of aborio rice when making risotto..takes a little longer to cook but so good.

    quinoa is a great substitute … and a wonderful treat if you are allergic to gluten as it’s naturally gluten free. I use it just like I would couscous. I made it into side salads of use it as a base on my plate for veggie stir fry.

  19. Carol says:

    Rachel I have a question my husband is a diabetic do you have any recipes gor him? Also is honey a bad sweetner for a diabet?

  20. Carol says:

    Do you have any comment?

  21. Cheryl says:

    I am fairly new to cooking. I was laid off in November and am using this time to learn. What difference does it make cooking with wheat flour compared to white flour in most recipes?

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