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Never Be Bored Again: 6 Ways To Serve Whole Grains

Everything you eat leads to eventual potential energy. Sometimes you need that energy in a hurry. Carbohydrates can help, and whole grains are the best way to go.

Whole grains have gotten a bad reputation in the era of carb-hate, paleo dogma, and gluten-phobia. But when you need energy to power a workout, or keep you sane during a cut, whole grains sometimes can be a saving grace. They should be a part of most diet plans.

Keto or paleo approaches eliminate whole grains, but when used correctly, these ancient crops supply workout fuel and act as agents for recovery. You say grains are bland, but we counter with these six simple recipes. They harvest the flavors of the plains with little kicks of fruit, vegetables, and a little protein here and there.

Get creative in the kitchen and find ways to boost the flavor of whole grains to make them more appealing. These six recipes build a framework for your future cooking with grains.

Millet-Cranberry Stuffing

Stuffing has been sadly typecast as a winter holiday side dish. Erroneous! Full of fiber and flavor, this recipe will draw few complaints on your table. You're sure to see those Christmas-morning smiles—in July. Any time your diet needs a complex carb boost, mix this up!

  1. Cook the millet according to package directions.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Once bubbling, add in the celery, onions, carrots, and minced garlic.
  4. Continue to cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. From there, add mushrooms and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  6. Add in the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Next, add in the cranberries, pecans, and millet, heating over medium heat for 1-2 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
Nutrition Facts
Recipe yields 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 283.5
Total Fat 3 g
Total Carb 38.75 g
Protein 4 g

Millet-Cranberry Stuffing PDF (55.7 KB)

Wild and Brown Rice Salad

Brown rice wins big in the great battle for health in the modern world. In a pick-up lunch game, it should never be picked last! But the salad game is a team effort. Peppers, celery, seeds, and oils add flavor to this easy-to-create dish. This salad can be served warm or cold, creating plenty of convenient options to satisfy your taste buds.

  1. Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and mustard together in a small bowl to form dressing.
  2. Place rice, vegetables, seeds, and nuts together in a bowl; stir until mixed.
  3. Drizzle with dressing, toss to coat, and then serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts
Recipe yields 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 316.5
Total Fat 8.5 g
Total Carb 53 g
Protein 8.5 g

Wild and Brown Rice Salad PDF (51.7 KB)

Green Pepper Barley Salad

Simplicity is important in any meal plan, but especially in a salad. People tend to throw in any green thing. Make choices that optimize flavor. This green pepper salad is a light and refreshing addition to any meal. Serve it hot or cold. Add more vegetables if you like—just remember that the calories can add up.

  1. Boil water in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the barley and then cover and let cook for 10-12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the green peppers and dice the onion. Chop up parsley and then add ingredients to the cooked barley.
  4. Fluff with a fork to combine.
  5. In another bowl, combine together the olive oil, Italian salad dressing, and garlic.
  6. Drizzle over the mixture and then stir before serving.
Nutrition Facts
Recipe yields 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 256.25
Total Fat 7.25 g
Total Carb 43.5 g
Protein 5.75 g

Green Pepper Barley Salad PDF (46.9 KB)

Creamy Barley with Mushrooms

Barley is one of those forgotten whole grains in the maddening dash for fast food. Simply put, some good food takes a little time to prep. This fine barley dish fits alongside a main chicken or beef entree with a side salad to make a complete meal. The pecans are a pleasant surprise and add healthy fat content to this simple side.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  3. Once melted, add in the onion, garlic, barley, and pecans.
  4. Continue to cook for 3-4 minutes or until barley browns.
  5. Add mushrooms and parsley.
  6. Continue to cook for another minute or two, and then transfer everything into a large baking dish.
  7. Add chicken broth and bake for about 75 minutes, or until the broth has been absorbed.
  8. Fluff with a fork and serve!
Nutrition Facts
Recipe yields 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 297.5
Total Fat 11.25 g
Total Carb 43.75 g
Protein 7.75 g

Creamy Barley with Mushrooms PDF (47 KB)

Blueberry Coconut Oatmeal

Oatmeal is perhaps the best-accepted of the grains in the bodybuilding and fitness community. Start your day with this recipe and stay smiling and strong all day! It contains healthy carbs for energy, and the coconut adds a healthy fat. You also get ample protein from the milk and protein powder. Enjoy your breakfast and the rest of the day will come easy!


  1. Mash up the banana, and then add oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, blueberries, and coconut flakes.
  2. Stir in milk, adding slowly while stirring and add protein powder; stir one more time.
  3. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts
Recipe yields 2 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 289.5
Total Fat 4.5 g
Total Carb 49 g
Protein 15 g

Blueberry Coconut Oatmeal PDF (52.3 KB)

Maple Pumpkin Oatmeal

Thank Canada for this little miracle in a bowl. This recipe will help you reconnect to autumnal memories but it can be eaten any time of the year. You love the taste of pumpkin, so why let November keep it to itself? Pumpkin provides old-fashioned flavor with an excellent low calorie structure.

  1. Cook the oatmeal according to package directions with the almond milk.
  2. Once oatmeal is finished, add the pecans, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Stir until well mixed and then top with dry oats and drizzle with maple syrup.
  4. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts
Recipe yields 2 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 202
Total Fat 9.5 g
Total Carb 26.5 g
Protein 3.5 g

Maple Pumpkin Oatmeal PDF (55.5 KB)

Consider any of these great grain options and help balance your nutritional profile. You need the energy, and you need the fiber. So, what are you waiting for? Get some healthy carbs without getting buried in bland flavor of whole grains. Eat up!

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