Whole Grain Basics

Whole Grain Basics

Grains are essentially seeds; whole grains contain the nutrients of the entire seed. Whereas refined flour only has part of the seed. Look for whole grain varieties of all of your favorite foods like pasta, brown rice and other grains, breads (whole wheat, rye, and pumpernickel), cereals, energy bars, and crackers.

  • Look for the word "whole" before the grain's name—"whole wheat" instead of "wheat"—on the ingredient list.
  • Make sure a whole grain is one of the first three ingredients listed. (Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight so the closer the word is to the beginning of the list, the more whole grains the food contains.)
  • Check the Nutrition Facts label for at least 2 grams of fiber—since the bran is still intact, whole grain foods are typically higher in fiber than their refined versions.
  • Look for health claims about whole grains on the packaging. Whole grain foods qualify for a couple of the health claims approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which, although not mandatory, are usually listed on the front of the package. Find more ways to increase the whole grains in your diet with Five Ways to Get More Whole Grains. Your heart and your taste buds will thank you!

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