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Increasing Whole Grains in Your Diet

Grains are important to a diet because they help to lower cholesterol and are a good source for supplying energy to the body. The USDA is evaluating the addition of more grains to the food pyramid. Whole grains are a necessary part of keeping the body healthy and active. Here are a few ways to increase the intake of whole grains in your diet.

Increasing Whole Grains in Your Diet

There are many rumors about whole grains. What makes them whole? The myths are about to be dispelled right here. First of all, a whole grain means that it contains all the parts of the grain itself: bran, endosperm and germ. Without all three, you are not reaping the most benefit from your food.

Many products have wording on their packages to the effect of “100% wheat”, “7-grain” or even “wheat bran.” This does not guarantee that these products contain a whole grain. They may contain some part of the grain but not all of the components. Check the ingredient label and look for the words “whole grain” to confirm its nutritional value.

When you learn to identify “whole wheat” products, you can begin finding ways to integrate them into your lifestyle. Whole grain products are lower on the glycemic index. This is a scale used to measure how a certain carbohydrate will impact your blood sugar. If it keeps it steady, then the number is usually lower than 50 on the scale. Values above 50 are thought to spike blood sugar.

Type of Whole Grains

• Bulgur
• Quinoa
• Millet
• Amaranth
• Barley

These grains come in many forms. They can be ground, found in flakes, in small pellets or whole.

Where Whole Grains Can Be Found

•Breakfast foods – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Especially when you have a long day you’ll want to start out right. Make a bowl of oatmeal and top with a few sliced fruits. It will stick to your ribs for sure. Whole grain cereals without added sugar are also another option.

•Soups – Home-made soup tastes better than any can variety. When you are deciding what vegetables and meats to add, throw in a bit of barley. It makes a great addition that doesn’t change the taste. What it does do is help fill you up sooner so that you eat less and stay energized all day.

•Pasta – If you like to eat pasta, look for whole grain varieties. The pasta is a little darker in color but contains fewer sugars.

•Casseroles – Many are made with rice like white rice. Instead, substitute brown rice, bulgur wheat or other favorite grains. When you mix it with the vegetables and other ingredients, your family will never know.

Learn to identify whole grains to help in making better choices with foods. The more whole grains added in your diet the better. Make substitutions whenever possible. You may find you like the taste better and well the health benefits just speak for themselves.

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