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Whole Grains Explained

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What is a whole grain?

  • All grains come from nature as whole grain
  • Whole grains are made up of three layers:
    • Bran: Contains vitamins, antioxidants, fiber
    • Endosperm: Contains carbohydrates and protein.

It is the part used to make flour.

  • Germ: Contains vitamins, minerals, protein & healthy fats.

Why eat whole grains?

  • Provides long lasting energy
    • Fiber lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes & stroke. It also lowers C – reactive protein, an inflammatory marker.
    • Helps keep your weight stable.
    • Provides phytochemicals

How much should you eat?

  • minimum of 3 to 4 ounce equivalents a day for adults

 What is a serving of a whole grain?

  • 1 oz. whole grain ready to eat cereal
  • ½ Cup whole grain cooked cereal
  • 1 oz. slice whole wheat bread
  • ½ Cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ Cup cooked whole wheat pasta
  • 2 Cups air popped popcorn
  • 1 oz. whole grain crackers

What to look for at the grocery store”

  • Look for the 100% WHOLE grain stamp
  • Read the ingredient list – look for the word “WHOLE” or “100% WHOLE” before it lists the flower, for example whole rye.  It should be the first ingredient listed.

 False Advertising

  • Many packages may say “WHOLE” grain but the food really contains a small amount of whole grain.  Sometimes as little as a ½ teaspoon. Make sure the “WHOLE” grain is the first ingredient on the list.
  • Steer clear of products that list “enriched flour,” “wheat flour,” “de-germinated” (on corn meal), “bran”, or “wheat germ;” these are not whole grains.�
    • Just because the product is brown, doesn’t mean it is healthy.  The color may come from added sugars or colors.

 Try a Variety of Whole Grains

• Amaranth          • Barley

• Buckwheat        • Millet

• Quinoa              • Rye

• Muesli               • Sorghum

• Teff                   • Kamut

• Triticale             • Oats

• Oats                  • Wild Rice

• Popcorn             • Bulgur

For insights on how to create healthier habits for your family and on successfully getting your kids to eat more good foods, read our nutrition expert interviews.


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