How to Add Whole Grains to Your Diet: Eating Healthy and Feeling Great
Easy Ways to Add More Grains To Your Diet
How much Whole Grains Are You Eating?
Grains are an essential part of a healthy diet. All grains are a great source of complex carbohydrates with key vitamins and minerals. Grains are also low in fat. However, the most important factor that has been linked to eating grains is the lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers as well as other health issues.
Although all grains are good for you, the healthiest are the whole grains. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that half of all the grains you consume are whole grains.
There’s a good chance that you eat lots of grains now. But do you know if they are whole grains?
Grains are divided into three categories:
- Whole Grains are unrefined and haven’t had their germ and bran removed by the milling process. A better source of fiber, whole grains also contain very important nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, and selenium. Whole grains are eaten as a sole food such as brown rice and popcorn, or as part of the ingredients in a recipe such as whole wheat in bread or buckwheat in pancakes.
- Refined Grains are milled. This process strips the grain of both the bran and germ which gives it a finer texture and also extends its shelf life. One important factor of refined grains is that the milling process also removes many nutrients, including their fiber. Refined grains should be eaten in small moderation or in some cases, removed from your diet altogether. They include white flour, white rice, white bread, and degermed cornflower. You will find refined grains in many breads, cereals, crackers, desserts, and pastries.
- Enriched Grains: Some nutrients, such as B vitamins, that had been lost during the refining process are added back in. However, the fiber that was lost in the refining process is not added back in. When you see “Fortifying Nutrients” on labels, this means that nutrients were added to the grains that don’t occur naturally.
Most refined grains are enriched. Many enriched grains are fortified with other vitamins and minerals. Whole grains may or may not be fortified.
The following tips are designed to help you add whole grains to your diet. By following these tips and suggestions, you will reduce the risk of some chronic diseases.
Great Recipes Books for Whole Grains
Replacing White for Brown
There are refined-grain products that we consume every day that we can substitute with whole-grain products, therefore reducing our fat and calorie intake as well as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other common health issues that stem from refined grains:
- Replace all your white bread with 100% whole wheat or whole grain bread
- Use brown rice instead of white rice. Note that it is sometimes a little hard to completely replace the white with the brown rice with our palettes so used to eating the white rice. Experiment, by using 1/3 brown rice with 2/3 white rice and continue to increase the brown and decrease the white every time you make rice. Before you know it, your dishes will be all brown rice and you won’t even miss the white.
- For a change, try using whole wheat pasta, brown rice in your stuffed bell peppers or tomatoes and whole wheat macaroni in your macaroni and cheese.
Out With the Old, In With the New!
By replacing candy, chips and other popular high fat, high sodium, high sugar, and high calorie content with whole grain snacks, you will notice just how much more energy you have and your weight will begin to drop off a lot easier. If you are prone to headaches, you will see them disappear, your constant hunger cravings between meals will subside and you will generally feel better!
Dressing Up Your Dishes
Using whole grains in your mixed dishes is a great way to add bulk to your dishes and incorporate whole grains into your diet. You may even notice that you will get full a lot sooner. Try adding barley in your vegetable soups or stews or bulgur wheat in casseroles or stir-fries. You can also try a pilaf or a quinoa salad.
Great Addition to any Kitchen
Are You in the Know?
When shopping for whole-grain foods, be aware that the color of a food does not necessarily mean it is a whole-grain food. Did you know that foods labeled as “stone-ground,” “100% wheat,” “Cracked wheat,” “Seven-grain,” “Multi-grain,” or “bran” are usually not 100% whole-grain products, and may not contain any whole-grain product at all?
Know your ingredients! Read the labels list!
When looking for whole-grain products, they will appear first on the list. Be sure to look for “whole wheat,” “brown rice,” “buckwheat,” “oatmeal,” “bulgur,” “whole rye,” “wild rice,” or “whole-grain cornmeal.”
You will also need to check the Nutrition Facts label for the fiber content of whole-grain foods. Really good sources of fiber will contain 10-19% of the daily value, where excellent sources will contain 20% or more. Don’t forget… READ THE LABEL!
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About the Author
Lisa has directed and acted in musical theatre for nearly 30 years. Her musical upbringing allowed her to pursue her career in teaching and directing and continues to direct shows today. As the owner of 2 online Home Décor sites, Lisa’s passion for Rustic Living all begins with her love for the home, outdoors, and her many hobbies. Lisa loves to laugh, and she share’s that love through her comedic hubs centered on her MOM. Lisa’s passions include writing, directing, acting, photography, singing, cooking, crafts, gardening, and home improvement, including decorating. Lisa also writes under her penned name, Elizabeth Rayen.
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