Nutrition Week Day 3: Whole Grains

March 4, 2015

Nutrition Week: Day 3. You can call me the Grain Queen. I love grains, bread, oatmeal, breakfast cereals. Really any grain will do. Grains/carbohydrates tend to get a bad rap when it comes to weight loss. But, grains can be a part of your diet; you just have to be mindful about how you are selecting them. The recommendation is that you make at least half your grain whole grains. So how do you do that and what does that mean?

To do this it means making at least half of the 3-5 recommended servings a whole grain. One fun fact is that all grain start life as a whole grain, meaning they contain all three key edible parts. These three parts include the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. When a grain is refined to make white bread or white rice, the bran and germ are removed leaving the starchy endosperm. Without the bran and germ, 25% of the grains protein is lost, along with at least seventeen key nutrients. That’s a big difference. Processers add back some vitamins and minerals but the better option is still the whole grain product. The top nutrients in whole grains vary from grain to grain but most are rich in protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese to name a few.

So what is 3-5 servings? The following are examples of a serving:
½ cup cooked brown rice or other whole cooked grain
½ cup cooked whole grain pasta
½ cup hot cereal like oatmeal
1 slice 100% whole grain bread
1 cup whole grain cereal

It can sometimes be challenging to actually find a true whole grain option. There are so many different terms out there- it can be very confusing. This whole grain table tells you what to look out for when trying to select a whole grain option. The table is from the whole grain council.

Words you may see on packages What they mean
whole grain (name of grain)
• whole wheat
• whole (other grain)
• stoneground whole (Grain)
• brown rice
• oats, oatmeal (including old fashioned oatmeal, instant oatmeal)
• wheatberries
YES – Contains all parts of the grain, so you’re getting all the nutrients of the whole grain
wheat, or wheat flour
• semolina
• durum wheat
• organic flour
• stoneground
• multigrain (may describe several whole grains or several refined grains, or a mix of both)
MAYBE – These words are accurate descriptions of the package contents, but because some parts of the grain MAY be missing, you are likely missing the benefits of whole grains. When in doubt, don’t trust these words!
enriched flour
• degerminated (on corn meal)
• bran
• wheat germ
NO – These words never describe whole grains

Grains can be a part of a healthy diet, but it is important how you select. Here are some selection tips.

In the dining commons I always add the brown or wild rice to my salads. I choose the whole wheat roll/bread options, as well as the whole wheat pasta. At home try these options:

• Substitute half white flour with whole wheat flour in your regular recipes for cookies, muffins, quick breads and pancakes.
• Replace one third of the flour in a recipe with quick oats or old-fashioned oats.
• Add half a cup of cooked wheat or rye berries, wild rice, brown rice, sorghum or barley to your favorite canned or home-made soup.
• Stir a handful of rolled oats in your yogurt, for quick crunch with no cooking necessary

Happy Nutrition Week and be sure to choose whole grains and as Bob’s Red Mill says No Grain No Gain.

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