It’s just about that time of year again. The weather is changing and before you know it, the holidays will be upon us. For most adults, this means a lot of family functions to prepare for. As most holiday gatherings involve delicious meals amongst those you care about, you’re probably already thinking about ideas on what you’ll cook. Though there are a lot of staple holiday dishes your guests may be expecting, you can always mix things up with whole-grain recipes. 


Incorporating healthy ingredients like whole grains into your holiday recipes not only taste great but can be vital in supporting positive health in you and your loved ones. Whole grains are packed with vitamins and nutrients the body needs to properly function. They are great for heart health, digestion, and weight management. 


You may be wondering what kinds of whole-grain recipes you could make that your family wouldn’t frown on, but you’d be surprised just how many ideas there are that taste great. Here are a few: 


Whole-Grain Breakfast Ideas
You might be a bit stressed about the upcoming festivities or anxious to see everyone, but that doesn’t mean you should skip out on breakfast during the holidays. Here are some delicious ideas to start your morning off right: 


Overnight Oats – Overnight oats are a delicious whole-grain breakfast idea. If you don’t know how to make overnight oats, it’s really pretty simple. All you need are oats, milk, and your favorite toppings. Essentially, it’s a no-cook method of preparing oatmeal. You allow the oats to soak in the milk overnight so that they become soft enough to eat the next day. Top them with things like raw honey, agave, or brown sugar and some fresh fruit, nuts, or seeds for extra protein and flavor. 


Whole-Grain Breakfast Cookies – Looking for something sweet to go with that cup of Joe or tea in the morning? How about a tasty whole-grain breakfast cookie? Made with ingredients like rolled oats, semi-sweet chocolate, nuts, dried berries, and ground cinnamon, these cookies are just the right amount of sweet combined with nutrition to jumpstart your day. These are sure to be a fan favorite with children too. 


Whole-Grain Lunch Ideas
Hosting a holiday lunch is often a lot more affordable and convenient (especially for guests who have more than one house to visit). If you plan on serving up lunch to your guests, here are a few whole-grain ideas to incorporate:


Whole-Grain Bread – Nothing pairs better with meals than a nice fresh piece of bread. You can make your own bread at home or purchase some from a nearby bakery. Then, prepare a few dips or toppings for your guests to have like butter garlic spread or pico de gallo. A nice toasted piece of whole-grain bread can also pair well with a bowl of soup.


Whole-Grain Salad – Another lunch idea for the holidays is to incorporate a nice whole-grain salad. There are tons of recipes to choose from. Whether you opt for a whole-grain pasta salad with fresh cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and light salad dressing or you go with a quinoa salad with kale, chicken, and walnuts, it really is a treat. 


Whole-Grain Dinner Ideas
The most common meal served during the holidays is dinner. Along with some of your staple items (turkey, stuffing, mac n cheese, etc), why not add these dishes to the menu? 


Sweet Potato Quinoa – Sweet potatoes are a common staple for holiday dinners. While they’re already healthier than white potatoes and packed with vitamins and nutrients, you can up the ante a bit by incorporating quinoa into your recipe. There are recipes for hot and spicy, roasted, or sweet and savory, sweet potato quinoa bowls. 


Whole-Grain Spaghetti – Pasta is another holiday favorite. To increase the nutritional value of the meal this year, use whole-grain pasta in your recipe. Topped with your best sauce, parmesan cheese, and a side of whole-grain bread and your guests are sure to be full and satisfied. 


In just a few short weeks the holiday season will be in full swing. If you plan on hosting a holiday gathering or are attending one, you can wow your guests with the above-mentioned whole-grain holiday recipes. Not only will they love the taste, but they’ll appreciate the fact that you put their health first.