“I don’t really pay attention to whole grains, but this is a chance to get healthier.” - L’Anne Gilman: Age 42, Gallery Owner, Ketchum, Idaho

HER CHALLENGE

L’Anne Gilman is tall (6 feet) and lean, so she can get away with the heavy Southern cooking—fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, and meat loaf—on which she was raised. “My problem,” she jokes, “is that there’s no whole-grain Bisquick!” But she knows it’s time to pay more attention to her health, and she wants healthier options for her three kids (ages 14, 12, and 10). “I’d love to find whole-grain dishes that we’ll all like.”

OUR ADVICE

L’Anne loves to cook—a good thing, as some whole grains take ­patience or require a bit of creativity. In fact, she can use them in many of the dishes she already makes.

  • Find a whole-grain baking mix for convenient pancakes, biscuits, even chicken and dumplings. While there is no whole-grain Bisquick (yet), there are whole-grain baking mixes out there from Arrowhead Mills, King Arthur Flour, and Hodgson Mill. Look in your supermarket, or buy online.
  • Add whole grains gradually. You don’t have to go whole-hog right away—it might backfire with picky ­eaters. Try a combo of half regular pasta with half whole-wheat. 
  • Use whole-wheat breadcrumbs. Pulse 100% whole-wheat bread in a food processor to make breadcrumbs (1 slice will produce about 1/2 cup crumbs). Use as breading for chicken cutlets, binder for meat loaf, or topping for casseroles like mac and cheese. To complement the nutty flavor (or mask it, if some don’t enjoy it), toss with olive oil, garlic, and herbs. Those who wouldn’t dream of chowing down on a slice of whole-wheat bread might love it in the form of a garlicky, crispy breadcrumb topping.
  • Try baking it in. Use whole-wheat flour in cookies, muffins, and breads. But don’t just change over to all whole wheat: There are texture and flavor challenges. Start with half all-purpose flour and half whole-wheat flour. If you want more than a 50-50 ratio, seek out recipes specifically developed that way, like these Whole-Wheat Flour Recipes.