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whole wheat pasta, or foods I “should” like but don’t and why it matters

Posted by on May 21, 2010 in Blog Posts |

Whole grains are “hot” these days. When I menu plan, I try to aim for about half of the grains we eat to be whole grains. Recently I wrote that I truly resent and refuse (as much as possible) to eat foods simply because I “should” (for nutritional or other purposes.)

After a recent success with the whole wheat cookies that are awesome (holding up well in my tupperware on the counter BTW and chosen over a Newman’s Oreo by M) I am inspired to try more. But, whole wheat pasta will never gain entry to my pantry again!
Some whole grains I love:
  • breads (store-bought) the seedier the better
  • cookies (see above)
  • oatmeal
  • barley in soups
  • brown rice (with stews, soups, chilis)
  • soba-type noodles made with buckwheat
  • whole wheat couscous
Some whole grains that I could do without
  • by far the most reviled is whole wheat pasta (blech, I know I “should” but I don’t like it)
  • brown rice with stir-fries (I just like the sticky white stuff here)
  • brown rice with sushi (ditto)
  • Fiber One cereal, or anything like it
  • breads I have baked at home with mostly whole wheat have disappointed so far, machine and in the oven.
  • went through a Quinoa phase, and now am not so keen on it. Maybe if I made it in a more inspired way I’d love it. Just seems to fall more in the “I should eat it because it’s healthy” category…
  • Muffins made with high fiber cereals or flours and apple sauce or other fat-reducing strategies. Dry, dry, dry
The list-making is fun, but the issue is relevant. Much of today’s nutritional advice is pushing whole grains and other “should” foods, which is problematic on many levels and especially if you lack the cooking skills to know what to do with them. Cooking for a family is hard enough to sustain without bringing dread, guilt, and most of all unappealing foods into the mix. When we denigrate the foods people enjoy and are eating, put them on a “forbidden” list and give them alternatives that they don’t like, aren’t ready for or don’t know they like, we offer little. The “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” mess people up.
Make a list of the foods you enjoy, can you find a few with whole grains? Are there any of the so-called “should” foods that surprise you? Are you maybe avoiding “should” foods you might like because you resent that “should?” Can you expand that list by trying new foods, eating out or from a friend? (For example, I only tried baking purely whole wheat cookies because I got to enjoy them at the Mill City Museum test kitchen.) Focus on growing your “love it” list in a fun, low-pressure way when you are ready, not on growing your “can’t have it” list. (Secrets to Feeding a Healthy Family by Satter has a great rundown on how to expand the picky adult palate.)
What am I missing? Do you have some whole grains you love and think I should try? I have not yet experimented with groats, and the more exotic grains. Convince me…
Or commiserate with your most-hated “I know I should but can’t” foods…
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