Set a good example for your family and friends by eating whole grains in meals and snacks. Whole grain rolls, tortillas, hot and cold cereals, breads, pastas, crackers, and brown rice are excellent foods that boast health benefits and add a variety of tastes and textures into your diet.
What is a whole grain?
There are two categories of grains, Whole Grains and Refined Grains. Whole grains include all the parts of the grain kernel – the bran, germ, and endosperm. These different parts add numerous vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Whole-wheat flour, brown rice, and oatmeal are examples of whole grains. Refined grains have been processed to remove the bran and germ, which removes vitamins, minerals, and fiber. White flour and white rice are examples. Most refined grains are enriched so some of the vitamins are added back in after processing.
How do you know if it is a whole grain?
Just because it is brown does not make it whole. Look for the word “whole” to be listed first in the ingredients. Also, look for 100% whole grain. (100% wheat on the front label is usually not the same as 100% whole wheat.) Look for brown rice instead of white.
Why should half your grains be whole grains?
People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have reduced risk of some chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Consuming fiber-rich whole grains may reduce constipation. Also, eating whole grain foods every day may help with management of weight.
How can your family eat more whole grains?
Try swapping a whole grain like whole-wheat tortillas for refined-flour tortillas. For a little something different, give brown rice or whole-wheat pasta a try or even a whole grain pizza crust. Add whole grains like brown rice or barley to vegetable soups and add bulgur or whole-wheat pasta to casseroles. Whole grain crackers, unsweetened whole grain cereal, or rolled oats add a nice coating to baked meats and vegetables. Whole-wheat bread or cracker crumbs are great in a meatloaf. Make a whole grain cereal snack mix by combining three or four different whole grain cereals. Snack on popcorn – it’s a whole grain (just remember to limit the addition of salt and butter.)
For more information and ways to eat healthy from all the food groups, check out http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/index.html or contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office http://directory.ifas.ufl.edu/Dir/searchdir?pageID=3&pl=05
When you eat the “model” whole grain roll (and other whole grain foods), you’re being a good “roll” model for those around you. Try a variety of whole grain foods starting today.