Grains have gotten a bad rap recently, which is a shame since Whole Grains offer a tasty and convenient way to get some important nutrients from food — the way our bodies prefer to get nutrients!
What are Whole Grains?
All grains begin as whole grains. A whole grain is the entire grain—which includes the bran, germ and endosperm (starchy part). “Refined” grains include only the starchy part of the grain, and are missing many of the nutrients found in whole grains. Whole grains are great examples of complex carbohydrates. And (contrary to what you may have heard!), they are definitely a healthy part of a balanced diet!
What Is So Great About Them?
- They contain bran and fiber, which slows the breakdown of starch to glucose. This helps to maintain blood sugar control.
- Whole grains help to lower cholesterol.
- They are full of dietary fiber, phytonutrients and essential minerals like magnesium, selenium and copper as well as some B vitamins.
- They help with digestion and promote bowel regularity.
- Many of them contain prebiotic and resistant starch, which help to support gut health.
- They make you feel full which could help with portion control.
Some Tips To Help You Eat More Whole Grains:
- Shop Bulk Bins: Buying from bulk bins allows you to get exactly the amount you want and are an affordable way to experiment with new-to-you whole grains like: Bulgur (cracked wheat), Whole oats/oatmeal, Whole grain corn/corn meal, Popcorn, Whole rye, Whole grain barley, Whole farro, Wild rice, Buckwheat, Buckwheat flour, Triticale, Millet, Quinoa, Sorghum.
- Make Simple Switches: Substitute a whole grain product for a refined product you are already using. For example, eat whole-wheat bread instead of white bread, or brown rice instead of white rice. It’s important to substitute the whole grain product for the refined one, rather than adding the whole grain product.
- Add Cooked Grains to Your Favorite Soups, Stews and Salads: Toss some cooked grains into a pot of vegetable soup, chili or other soup /stew. Grains make great additions to salads as well!
- Try Whole Grain Snacks like (unsalted) popcorn or 100% Whole Grain Crackers
- Cook In Bulk: Whenever you cook up a batch of brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, barley or other whole grain, make extra and freeze the leftovers. These can be used later as a quick side dish or addition to a meal.
- Experiment with whole grain pasta: whole wheat, soba (buckwheat), brown rice, gamut, spelt and multigrain pasta varieties are available. Each will have it’s own unique flavor and texture so experiment to find one you like!
- Start Early With Breakfast: Eat oatmeal, quinoa, amaranth, or other whole grain cereal warm with fruit and nuts for breakfast.
- Make sandwiches on whole grain bread
- Try a whole grain pilaf with a mixture of grains like brown rice, barley, wild rice, quinoa or others with low sodium broth and herbs.
- Use Whole Grains Instead of Noodles in Soup
Experiment! Which will you try first?