Tips To Help You Eat Whole Grains
- 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
- 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 casserole or stir-fries.
- 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.
- Try rolled oats or a crushed, unsweetened whole grain
cereal as breading for baked chicken, fish, veal cutlets, or eggplant
- Try 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 a whole-grain snack chip, such as baked tortilla
- Popcorn, a whole grain,
can be a healthy snack 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:
- 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 products with
a higher % Daily Value (%DV) for fiber - the %DV for fiber is a good clue to the amount of whole grain in the product.
- Read the food label's ingredient list. Look for terms
that indicate added sugars (sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, and
molasses) and oils (partially hydrogenated vegetable oils) that add extra
calories. Choose foods with fewer added sugars, fats, or oils.
- Most sodium in
the food supply comes from packaged foods. Similar packaged foods can vary
widely in sodium content, including breads. Use the Nutrition Facts label to
choose foods with a lower % DV for sodium. Foods with less than 140 mg sodium
per serving can be labeled as low sodium foods. Claims such as "low in sodium"
or "very low in sodium" on the front of the food label can help you identify
foods that contain less salt (or sodium).
Whole Grain Tips for Children
- Set a good example for children by eating whole grains
with meals or as snacks.
- Let children select and help prepare a whole grain
- Teach older children
to read the ingredient list on cereals or snack food packages and choose those
with whole grains at the top of the list.
Source: USDA, MyPyramid.gov
Last Editorial Review: 12/14/2005