Chow Line: Tips for whole grains, lean protein, dairy (for 7/3/11)

Jun 23, 2011


I'm one of those people who have no problem eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. But I need some ideas for incorporating more whole grains, lean protein and dairy into my daily routine. Tips?

The MyPlate website has just what you need. Three of the "10 Tips" series of tipsheets focus on just those topics. To download "Make Half Your Grains Whole," "With Protein Foods, Variety is Key," and "Got Your Dairy Today?" go to and click on the "10 tips Nutrition Education Series" icon in the lower right of the page.

To whet your appetite, here are just a few of the tips offered:

  • Get more whole grains by making simple substitutions. Choose whole-wheat bread, bagels and pasta instead of regular; choose brown rice instead of white rice.
  • When looking at food labels for whole grains, beware of these pretenders: "multi-grain," "stone-ground," "100% wheat," "cracked wheat," "seven-grain," and "bran" -- they do not necessarily indicate that the product is whole grain. Instead, look for "whole wheat," "whole grain," "whole rye," "bulgur," "buckwheat,"  "brown rice," "wild rice," "whole oats" or "oatmeal."
  • When you have time, cook extra bulgur or barley. Freeze it to serve later as a quick side dish, or to add to soups, stews or casseroles.
  • For protein, choose seafood twice a week. Make a special effort to include fish such as salmon, trout or herring, which are high in heart-healthy omega-3 oils and low in mercury.
  • Another good protein choice: an egg. One egg a day, on average, doesn't increase risk of heart disease. Only the yolk contains cholesterol, so add as much egg white as you like.
  • Vary your protein intake with kidney, pinto, black or white beans; split peas, chickpeas or hummus; tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers or other soy products; nuts and seeds.
  • Americans tend to eat more protein than necessary. Cut servings back to 3 or 4 ounces.
  • For dairy, choose fat-free or 1 percent milk and yogurt. It cuts back the calories but doesn't reduce calcium or other nutrients.
  • If you're lactose intolerant or sensitive, drink smaller amounts at a time. If you opt for soymilk, make sure it offers about 300 milligrams of calcium per serving.
  • Like cheese? Look for reduced- or low-fat types.
  • Watch the sweet tooth. Flavored milks, fruit yogurts, frozen yogurt, ice cream, and puddings carry a lot of extra calories because of added sugars. 

Chow Line is a service of Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Martha Filipic, 2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH, 43210-1044, or

Editor: This column was reviewed by Julie Kennel, nutrition program manager for Ohio State University Extension in the Department of Human Nutrition in the College of Education and Human Ecology.


Martha Filipic


Julie Kennel
OSU Extension, Human Nutrition

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