Diet & Nutrition
The Whole-Grain Guide
Adding whole grains to your diet doesn’t have to mean giving up taste or variety. The experts at ChooseMyPlate, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, share some smart ways to start eating the best grains for you:
To eat more whole grains, substitute a whole-grain product for a refined product – such as eating whole-wheat bread instead of white bread or brown rice instead of white rice. It’s important to substitute the whole-grain product for the refined one, rather than adding the whole-grain product.
For a change, try brown rice or whole-wheat pasta. Try brown rice stuffing in baked green peppers or tomatoes and whole-wheat macaroni in macaroni and cheese.
Use whole grains in mixed dishes, such as barley in vegetable soup or stews and bulgur wheat in a casserole or stir-fry.
Create a whole grain pilaf with a mixture of barley, wild rice, brown rice, broth and spices. For a special touch, stir in toasted nuts or chopped dried fruit.
Experiment by substituting whole wheat or oat flour for up to half of the flour in pancake, waffle, muffin or other flour-based recipes. They may need a bit more leavening.
Use whole-grain bread or cracker crumbs in meatloaf.
rolled oats or a crushed, unsweetened whole grain cereal as breading for baked chicken, fish, veal cutlets, or eggplant parmesan.
…an unsweetened, whole grain ready-to-eat cereal as croutons in salad or in place of crackers with soup.
Freeze leftover cooked brown rice, bulgur, or barley. Heat and serve it later as a quick side dish.
Snack on ready-to-eat, whole grain cereals such as toasted oat cereal. Add whole-grain flour or oatmeal when making cookies or other baked treats.
Try 100% whole-grain snack crackers.
Popcorn, a whole grain, can be a healthy snack if made with little or no added salt and butter.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR ON THE FOOD LABEL
Choose foods that name one of the following whole-grain ingredients first on the label’s ingredient list: brown rice; buckwheat; bulgur; millet; oatmeal; popcorn; quinoa; rolled oats; whole-grain barley; whole-grain corn; whole-grain sorghum; whole-grain triticale; whole oats; whole rye; whole wheat; wild rice.
Foods labeled with the words “multi-grain,” “stone-ground,” “100% wheat,” “cracked wheat,” “seven-grain,” or “bran” are usually not whole-grain products.
Color is not an indication of a whole grain. Bread can be brown because of molasses or other added ingredients. Read the ingredient list to see if it is a whole grain.
Use the Nutrition Facts label and choose whole grain products with a higher % Daily Value (% DV) for fiber. Many, but not all, whole grain products are good or excellent sources of fiber.
Read the food label’s ingredient list. Look for terms that indicate added sugars (such as sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, or raw sugar) that add extra calories. Choose foods with fewer added sugars.