Amber Waves of Whole Grains
Whole grains are part of a healthy
eating plan. Whole grains are foods such as whole wheat, brown rice,
whole grain corn, and oatmeal. It means they contain the entire
grain kernel. If there are “whole grains” does that mean there are
“half grains”? Not exactly, refined grains such as enriched wheat
flour and white rice have had most of the “bran” and some of the
“germ” of the kernel removed. The “bran” of the grain is the outer
shell which protects the seed and is a good source of fiber, B
vitamins and minerals. The “germ” provides nourishment to the seed
and so is a source of antioxidants, vitamin E and B vitamins. Since
these nutrients are all important for our good health, it is easy to
understand why it is recommended to make at least half of our
grains, whole grains.
Why Are Whole Grains Important For Us?
How Do You Know If A Food Is A Whole Grain?
- They are a good source of the nutrients listed above.
- They help with digestion, decreasing the risk of bowel
- They can reduce the risk of many health problems like
cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, stroke, high blood
pressure, obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
- They may help with weight maintenance.
Read the ingredient list on the label and look for the words
“whole” or “whole grain”. Here are some whole grains that you
may find listed:
Whole grain or pearl barley
Brown or wild rice
Whole grain corn
Popcorn (choking risk under 4 yrs.)
Look for foods that have one of these whole grains as the first
ingredient. Some foods sound like they have whole grains,
because the label says “wheat bread” or “multigrain bread”.
Always check the ingredient list to be sure that the first
ingredient is one of those above. Words and phrases that do not
mean the food is whole grain are: wheat flour, enriched flour,
white rice, degerminated cornmeal, made with whole grain, 100%
wheat, multigrain, stone ground, and pumpernickel.
How Much Is A Serving For Adults?
Cereals = ½ cup cooked or ¾ cup of ready-to-eat.
Breads = 1 slice
Tortillas, muffins, waffles, pancakes = 1 small
Crackers = 5 to 7 small crackers
Popcorn = 3 cups (choking risk for children under 4 years of
Bagel or pita bread = ½ or 1 small
Rice or pasta = ½ cup cooked.
Eating Whole Grains Ideas:
Try a hot or cold whole grain side dish, like pilaf or stuffing
made with brown or wild rice, kasha, bulgur or whole grain
- Choose a ready-to-eat or ready to-cook-whole grain cereal for
- Pour some dry, bite-size cereals into a bag for a snack.
- Grab a whole grain cereal bar for a snack.
- Read the labels of the grains in your home, like bread,
tortillas, bagels, pita bread, rolls and crackers. If they
aren’t whole grains look for a replacement that is, the next
time you shop.
- Try muffins made with whole wheat or rolled oats, or cornbread
made with whole grain cornmeal.
- Snack on low fat whole grain crackers, popcorn, baked tortilla
chips or a rice cake made from brown rice.
- Add whole grains like wild or brown rice or whole grain barley
to soups, stews or casseroles.
- Choose whole grain pasta, pancakes or waffles!
Try these websites for more information to help you eat a
variety of whole grains:
What foods are in the grain family?
Healthful Whole Grains! Kansas State University
Glorious Grain Guide