We see “whole grains” on a lot of food packages, but most of us don’t know exactly what whole grains are or why they’re better for us. September is Whole Grains Month and it’s a great time to learn about whole grains and incorporate more of these complex carbohydrates into your diet!
What are whole grains?
Whole grains are a good source of fiber and nutrients. Whole grains refer to grains that have all of the parts of the grain seed. They are more nutritious than “refined" grains, which are whole grains that are processed and stripped of dietary fiber and other important nutrients.
What counts as a whole grain?
Sometimes it can be confusing to determine what foods are whole grains. CDC has created a list of “buzz words” to help you the next time you look at the ingredients list of a food label. Remember, the whole grain should be the first ingredient listed.
Eating better is not an all-or-nothing choice; every little improvement you make in your food helps. This month, try serving bulgur or brown rice instead of potatoes with dinner one night. Or substitute white bread with whole wheat bread on your next sandwich. For whole grain recipe ideas, visit http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/recipes.html.
Want to know more?
USDA Dietary Guidelines: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/
Whole Grains Council: http://www.wholegrainscouncil.org/
How to Understand the Nutrition Facts Label: http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/NFLPM/ucm274593.htm