You have heard that whole grains are good for you, but do you understand why? It is a good idea to add whole grains to your diet - after all, half of your total intake of foods from the grain group should be whole grain – so I wanted to offer you some tips to help you achieve this goal.
Whole Grains 101
A “whole grain” contains all three parts of the kernel. There are lots of varieties of whole grains - Some are eaten whole, cracked or ground. Whole grains include grains like wheat, corn, rice, quinoa, rye, barley, and oats. When these foods are eaten in their “whole” form, they provide more nutrients and more fiber.
Whole grains are the entire seed, or kernel, of a plant. It includes three parts: the bran, germ and endosperm. The bran is the layered outer skin of the seed. It contains B vitamins and fiber. The germ is the embryo which will sprout a new plant. It contains B vitamins, some protein, and healthy fats. The endosperm is the germ’s food supply, providing essential nutrients and water so the plant can grow. So therefore whole grains contain more vitamins, fiber and protein than their refined counterparts.
There are lots of easy ways to add whole grains to every meal. Here are some of my favorites:
- Enjoy a bowl of whole grain cereal with 1% or nonfat milk. I love Quaker® Oat Squares and Cheerios®.
- For something hot, filling, and comforting, have oatmeal for breakfast. Two minutes in the microwave and it’s ready. Sweeten it with sliced bananas or fresh berries. Add a few chopped walnuts or pecans for added protein and healthy fat.
- To satisfy your carb-craving, try a Thomas’® Whole Wheat Mini Bagel. Spread them with light cream cheese or peanut butter.
- This is my kind of breakfast protein: Kashi® Go Lean. It has eight grams of fiber, 17 grams of whole grain and 9 grams of protein in one bowl. Add a cup of nonfat milk and you’re up to 17 grams of protein.
- Swap your white bread for whole wheat bread when you order a sandwich
- Go ahead and try a “whole wheat white” bread. It’s made from white wheat (unlike traditional ‘red’ wheat that is darker in color). It’s milder in flavor but still provides the whole kernel.
- For a delicious sandwich try Flat-out® Whole grain flatbread with Flax. This makes a delicious peanut butter and banana sandwich.
- Enjoy a homemade oatmeal raisin cookie
- If you love crunch, you’ll love these: Dr. Kracker® crackers and flatbreads are available in a variety of flavors.
- Try something new and tasty: Bulgar, barley, whole-wheat couscous or quinoa. Check out our grain recipes in the Glycemic Index Cookbook For Dummies®
- Throw some brown rice into your chili or soup. Or use half brown and half converted rice in your recipe.
- If you’ve tried some and didn’t like them, keep experimenting with other brands: Luigi Vitelli® Whole Wheat Pasta. I like this pasta, whereas some whole wheat pastas are too tought and chewy for my taste.