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Published: Friday, 2/25/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Whole Grains Offer A World Of New Taste To Familiar Foods

(ARA) - Americans are continuing to recognize that maintaining a healthy lifestyle includes making smart food choices. Make whole grains a staple of your diet, as they provide many nutrients that are fundamental to the health and preservation of our bodies.     

While most people recognize the benefits of adding whole grains into their diets, the taste and texture of some whole grain foods have been a deterrent for some. Now, eating healthy can be an enjoyable and delicious experience.    

According to Ellie Krieger, celebrity chef, New York Times bestselling author and registered dietitian, "To get people to eat well, don't say a word about health; rather just cook fantastic food for them."             

Health experts recommend eating three to five servings of whole grains a day, and Krieger says much of that can come down to substituting whole grain alternatives for foods you are already consuming, like bread, cereal and pasta -- which is one of her favorites.    

Additionally, she recommends taking these additional steps when striving for a healthier lifestyle:   

* The foundation of the healthy diet is merely a lot of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and healthy oils. It's not rocket science.    

* Simplify healthy home cooking by stocking ingredients that can be used on a moment's notice. For instance, make sure you have staples like canned tomatoes, canned beans, frozen shrimp and vegetables, plus whole grains like quinoa and pasta, readily available.   

* Think about getting color in every meal or snack. For example, if you're going to scramble an egg, add chopped tomatoes. It increases the meal's flavor, excitement and nutritional value.   

Try mixing whole grain pasta with fresh seasonal vegetables, tasty herbs and your favorite cheeses for a well-rounded and delicious dish. The great thing about pasta and other grains like rice, couscous or quinoa is they provide a versatile base that can be mixed almost all of your favorite foods.

Whole Grain Spaghetti with Roasted Tomato and Almond Pesto
Ingredients:
1 box whole grain spaghetti
To taste olive oil cooking spray
1 1/3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and quartered (about six medium)
1/3 cup blanched sliced almonds
1 medium clove of garlic
1/3 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking tray with cooking spray. Place the tomatoes on the tray and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, until they are soft and slightly charred.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Toast the almonds in a medium-size dry skillet, over medium-high heat. Stir frequently, until almonds are golden and fragrant, about three to four minutes. Transfer the almonds to a food processor.

Add the garlic and process until they are finely ground. Add the roasted tomatoes, basil, vinegar and pepper flakes to the processor. While the processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream. Add the Parmesan cheese and 1/4 teaspoon salt; pulse to combine.

Cook spaghetti according to the package directions. Drain and return the pasta to the pasta pot or to a serving bowl. Add the sauce and toss.



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