By Katie Busacca, ISU Dietetic Intern
Multi-grain, whole wheat, 100% wheat, bran, 7-grain- the options are endless when trying to pick a grain product, but what does it all mean? As many people know, the current recommendation is to make at least half the grain products in your diet whole grains. Whole grains promote heart health, aid in good digestion and may help you maintain a healthy weight. But with all of this labeling deception, how do you know if you are choosing a whole grain product?
When choosing a grain product the best way to determine if it is whole grain is to read the ingredient list. The first ingredient will likely be one of these:
- Whole wheat
- Whole wheat flour
- Whole grain
- Stone ground whole grain
- Brown rice
- Graham flour
Another good rule of thumb is to look for the 100% whole grain or whole grain stamp on the package, as seen on the right. The 100% whole grain stamp means that all of the grains used in the product are 100% whole grain and the product provides at least 16g of whole grains per serving. While the whole grain stamp (without the 100%) indicates that some of the grains used to make this product are whole grain and some are refined grains. These products will include at least 8g of whole grains per serving. Both are great choices!
As whole grain products become more popular, they are also becoming easier to find and less expensive. There are some simple substitutions you can make in your own diet to add the health benefits of whole grains.
|Try this…||Instead of this….|
|Whole grain pasta||Regular pasta|
|Brown rice||White rice|
|100% whole wheat bread||White bread|
|Whole wheat tortillas||White tortillas|
|Whole wheat flour||All-purpose flour|
The Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website is full of recipes using whole grain products! One quick and easy recipe I love is the Quick Pad Thai. Not only does it use whole grain pasta, but also it is simple to modify to include your favorite fresh or frozen vegetables. You can also use these simple tips to experiment with recipes and make delicious, healthy creations of your own!