Go with the Grain
Examples of Whole Grains:
- Whole-grain breads
- Whole-grain pastas
- Whole-grain crackers
- Whole-grain cereals
- Brown Rice
Whole grain? Whole wheat? Multigrain? What is the difference?
Navigating the bread section at the grocery store can be confusing with the many different terms used on packages. Let's break it down and look at just why grains are important and which grains are best for you!
Grains, in particular whole grains, play a very important role in a healthy diet. Even more important is what type of grain you are consuming. Whole grains provide energy, fiber and essential nutrients. Whole grains differ from enriched or refined grains in their nutrient content. Whole grains contain fiber that will help keep you fuller longer and can help prevent against heart disease. Whole grains also contain nutrients like B vitamins which play a role in metabolism (the rate at which your body digests and begins using the foods you eat for energy).
To make sure a product is a whole grain, read the first ingredient under the nutrition label. If the first ingredient reads "whole grain" or "100% whole wheat," it is a whole-grain product. It is not a whole grain if the first ingredient is "enriched flour." Also, watch out for words like "multigrain" that may seem as if they are whole grains but may not necessarily be whole grain. The term multigrain refers to the multiple grains the product is made with.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends at least half of your servings of grains be whole grains. Try adding a serving of whole grains with your meals to make sure you are eating the recommended amount of whole-grain servings per day. For example, have a serving of oatmeal for breakfast, whole-grain bread with lunch and brown rice with supper. Or snack on whole-grain crackers or popcorn. Additionally, try using whole-grain flour when baking or ask for whole-grain pastas and breads when dining out.
Whole grains also provide many other health benefits in addition to the nutrients that they provide. Research studies suggest that whole grains can help lower cholesterol and protect your heart. Whole grains also provide the fiber needed to stabilize blood sugars and manage appetite. Eating whole grain products can also help with weight management.