There is pretty much a solid consensus out there that whole grains are healthy.
But, did you know how delicious they can be? Whole grains rock!
I was so excited a couple of months ago when I was invited to function as a Whole Grain Ambassador for the Whole Grains Council this year. It seemed quite fitting, since one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2014 was to incorporate more healthy plant-based foods into my family’s diet, and whole grains are an integral part of implementing that resolution!
As an Ambassador, I received a big box of whole grain products to try out in preparation for Whole Grain Sampling Day which is today, April 2nd. Whole grains are important to include in our diet, because they supply essential nutritional components, such as antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
They have been shown to lower the risk of health concerns such as stroke, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more! For example, one study has shown that three servings a day of whole grains can cut blood pressure and thereby reduce the risk of stroke by 15-20%. Corn actually has almost twice the antioxidant activity of apples, while wheat and oats can go head-to-head with broccoli and spinach in health-protective antioxidant activity.
And, whole grains also can keep us looking svelte and trim, as switching to whole grains has been linked to helping with weight control. That makes sense to me...whole grains are filling, so they help you eat less overall. Yeah! Sign me up!
I was so excited the day my whole grain sample box arrived, packed with all the goodies you see in the picture below and more! Aren’t you jealous? Well, good news, you can enter the giveaway below to win your own box of whole grain goodies! You will love all the delicious products that are included!
One of the facts that I learned while participating in this initiative is that whole grain does not necessarily equal gluten. In fact, most grains, such as quinoa, rice, corn, buckwheat, oats, and others, do not contain any gluten. So, even if you are gluten-free, you should still be able to easily incorporate whole grains into your diet!
My boys were happy to help sample the whole grain products. Thing 1 was eager to try the Rice Ramen soup, especially since it was an interesting color of purple! Unfortunately for me, he ate it all before I could try any, but he said it was delicious!
Thing 2 was especially excited about the snacks. He enjoyed them after school as he was doing his homework, which ended up being a perfect way to tide him over until dinner!
I was really interested in trying the whole grain jam bar baking mix from Among Friends. I used the recipe on the back of the package and gave it my own little twist by adding dried cranberries, which made them extra chewy and delicious! The whole family loved the Cranberry Apricot Bars, and I loved that they were made with whole grain!
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Whole Grain Cranberry Apricot Bars
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars!
Whole Grain Cranberry Apricot Bars
- 14 ounces Gerry's Jam Bar Mix from Among Friends (1 package)
- 6 tablespoons butter (softened)
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup apricot fruit spread
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- In a large bowl combine bar mix and butter with a fork until a crumbly texture forms.
- Add the egg and mix until combined.
- Press half of the mixture in the bottom of a lightly greased 8x8 baking dish.
- Spread the jam over the mix, leaving about 1/4 inch border.
- Sprinkle the dried cranberries over the jam.
- Distribute the remaining baking mix on the top and press with a spoon.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Cool before cutting.
Disclosure: I received a selection of whole grain products to sample but was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.
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