Healthy Habits for Healthy Living
Go for the Grains!
Most people have no problem getting in the recommended servings of grain based foods. After all, pasta, bagels, and the like taste good. But Americans are not following the government’s recommendations to make at least half of their daily grain based foods whole grains. In fact, only seven percent of Americans get the recommended three or more servings of whole grains a day. It’s an unfortunate habit since whole grains have been linked to a reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other disorders.
What are whole grains?
Whole grains include all the components and naturally occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed:
- Bran-this fiber rich outer layer contains important phytochemicals, B vitamins and minerals
- Endosperm- the center section contains complex carbohydrates, protein and some B vitamins
- Germ- the nutrient rich inner core contains B vitamins, vitamin E, polyunsaturated fats, phytochemicals and antioxidants
Whole grains are less processed than highly refined grains. This means that vitamins, minerals and fiber are not lost during processing. The fiber derived from whole grains gives us a sense of “fullness” which may aid in weight control. Additionally, fiber can normalize blood sugar and reduce blood cholesterol.
What is a whole grain serving?
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that individuals eat at least half of their grains as whole grains. For adults, this translates into three or more servings of whole grains every day. A serving is defined as a slice of bread, ½ cup of rice, pasta or hot cereal, or one cup of ready to eat cereal. Follow the quick tips listed below to ensure you’re getting the recommended amount. A small amount of whole grain translates into big health benefits!
Quick whole grain tips
- Look for the words “whole grain” or “whole wheat” as the first ingredient listed or the second ingredient (after water)
- Select a frozen prepared entrée with whole grain rice or pasta
- Make oatmeal a regular breakfast choice
- Substitute half the white flour with whole wheat flour in your recipes for cookies, muffins, quick breads and muffins
- Use whole corn meal for corn cakes, corn breads and corn muffins
- Replace white rice and enriched pasta with brown rice and whole grain pasta
- Select whole grain cereal bars, crackers, bagels, wraps, bread, and English muffins
- Add cooked wheat or rye berries, wild rice, brown rice, or barley to soups, stew or salad dishes
Steer clear of words that do not necessarily mean the product is a whole grain: wheat flour, organic flour, multigrain, enriched flour, bran, wheat germ, semolina, durum wheat.
|While shopping at Marsh, look for the
Whole Grain symbol on shelf tags to
easily identify whole grain products.
Have specific nutrition related questions? Feel free to contact me.
|___||Mary Snell, MS RD CD
Director of Nutrition and Wellness