7-Day Meal Plan: Healthy Whole-Grain Dinners
Whole-grains are an important part of a healthy diet, providing energy, fiber, vitamins and minerals in each bite. Plus, fiber-rich whole grains can help you to feel fuller for longer. High-fiber foods have been shown to help prevent weight gain and even promote weight loss. This week's meal plan makes it easy to get in your whole grains with delicious recipes featuring quick-cooking grains like quinoa, farro, cracked freekeh, whole-wheat pasta and oats.
Watch How to Make Mexican Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
Day 1: Chicken & Farro Herb Salad
Chicken & Farro Herb Salad: With tons of fresh herbs, arugula, olives and farro, this healthy chicken salad recipe makes a wonderful potluck platter or healthy dinner. We love the nutty flavor and quick cooking time of farro but other whole grains, such as freekeh, bulgur or couscous, are also good choices.
Day 2: Quinoa Veggie Burger
Quinoa Veggie Burger: This quinoa veggie burger recipe is a meat-lover's burger: toasted pecans, mushrooms, Cheddar cheese, fresh herbs and red quinoa pack this vegetarian burger full of delicious flavor. Red quinoa, which you can generally find in stores where white quinoa is sold, gives the quinoa veggie burgers the perfect color. If you can only find white quinoa, that's fine too. These quinoa veggie burger patties hold together well for freezing, making for a quick and easy meal. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before cooking. Serve with your favorite burger garnishes.
Day 3: Two-Pepper Shrimp with Creamy Pecorino Oats
Two-Pepper Shrimp with Creamy Pecorino Oats: Oats are not just for breakfast! In this play on shrimp & grits, we simmered oats with scallions and cheese for a savory, creamy dish reminiscent of risotto. You'll even get your veggies with the sautéed baby spinach on the side. Serve with hot sauce and a glass of unoaked Chardonnay.
Day 4: Freekeh Tabbouleh with Spiced Lamb Kofta
Freekeh Tabbouleh with Spiced Lamb Kofta: For a new twist on tabbouleh, we use earthy, whole-grain freekeh combined with cucumber, parsley and tomatoes. Freekeh is found in two forms: whole or quick-cooking cracked; 2 cups of cooked bulgur can also be used as a substitute. Serve with the lamb patties and a spinach salad with herb vinaigrette.
Day 5: Rice, Cheddar & Spinach Pie
Rice, Cheddar & Spinach Pie: This rice, spinach and Cheddar pie is a cinch to prepare, especially when you use quick-cooking brown rice. Follow package directions for 4 servings to get about 3 cups cooked rice. Serve with steamed artichokes with light mayo mixed with lemon for dipping.
Day 6: Mexican Pasta Salad
Mexican Pasta Salad: Everyone will love this Mexican-inspired pasta salad recipe which uses fiber rich whole-wheat pasta. We lighten up the creamy dressing with avocado for a healthier version of a picnic favorite. Serve with a leafy green salad with vinaigrette.
Day 7: Meatball Banh Mi
Meatball Banh Mi: This banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) served on a whole-wheat baguette is filled with a zingy slaw and chicken-and-pork meatballs spiked with fresh herbs. Look for chile-garlic sauce and fish sauce near other Asian ingredients in most supermarkets.