Whole Grains for Healthy Bodies
By Brittany Lightsey, MS, RD, LD
It’s September! Cooler temperatures are falling around us, and we have gotten back in to the groove of a new school year. September is also whole grains month. There is no better time than now to switch up your family’s meal routine by adding more whole grains.
What are whole grains? Whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, bulgur, corn, and many, many more are great choices. Whole grains consist of the complete grain – parts containing fiber, B-vitamins, vitamin E and more. When grains are converted into white bread, white rice, or even regular pastas, they go through processing, stripping of their nutrients, and even bleaching.
To find whole grains, just check the ingredients list on the nutrition facts label. You’ll know it’s a whole grain when the words “whole” or “whole grain” appear before the grain’s name on the ingredients list. Steer clear of the words “refined,” “enriched flour” and be cautious of “multigrain,” “wheat,” or “made with whole grains.” You need the first ingredient to be a whole grain to get the full benefit or look for the whole grain stamp as shown below.
Health benefits of whole grain1:
- Whole grains can lower cholesterol;
- Fiber from whole grains can reduce diabetes risk; and
- Eating whole grains as part of a healthy diet may help with weight and diabetes management and the prevention of certain cancers, including breast and colon cancers.
Eat more whole grains:
- At breakfast: Try oatmeal or a whole grain waffle with nut butter for a protein punch.
- At lunch: Try a whole wheat wrap for a fun twist on a sandwich.
- At dinner: Try whole grain side dishes, such as brown rice, bulgur, or quinoa. Craving pasta? Choose whole grain varieties.
- Snacks, too! Make a personal pizza on a whole wheat English muffin.
- Health Studies on Whole Grains. Whole Grains Council. http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/health-studies-on-whole-grains: Accessed August 31, 2015.