About Whole Grains
Why Are Whole Grains Important?
Whole grain foods are significant sources of beneficial nutrients including complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Eating recommended amounts of whole grains can help lower risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Whole grains provide a sustained energy source, and due to their fiber content, also promote gastrointestinal health and aid in weight management.
How Can I tell Which Foods Are Whole Grain Foods?
Whole grains are not refined and consist of all three intact grain kernel components – the bran, endosperm and the germ. Whole grains include wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, bulgur, millet, spelt, amaranth, quinoa and others. Look for products that list whole wheat flour as the first ingredient or “whole grain” attached to the first ingredient listed on the package label, for example, “whole oats.”
What Counts As a Serving?
One slice of Whole Grain bread, ½ Whole Grain English muffin, ½ cup cooked oatmeal, ½ cup cooked whole wheat pasta, ½ cup cooked brown rice, bulgur, barley, or other cooked Whole Grain 2 cups cooked popcorn
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines, 2005, released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recommend Americans consume at least half of their grain servings as whole grains – that’s 3-5 servings of whole grains per day for optimal health. Accompanying the 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines is MyPyramid, the graphic symbol to help you implement the recommendations into your daily eating plan.
Tips for Increasing Your Whole Grain Intake
- Use Vermont Bread Company whole grain breads for breakfast dishes, sandwiches and snacks. One slice provides a serving of whole grain goodness.
- Get creative with breakfast – use Vermont breads to create fun breakfast dishes or sandwiches. Try a peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich, or blueberry whole grain french toast to kick-start your day.
- Try using whole grain pasta, tortillas or English muffins.
- Add whole grains such as cooked bulgur, wild rice or barley to whole grain bread stuffing.
- Use whole wheat flour as a substitute for white flour (half whole wheat flour, half white flour) in cookie, muffin, pancake and quick bread recipes.
- Enjoy air-popped popcorn for a whole grain, delicious snack.