Today’s abundance of whole grain products makes it easier to include healthy grains in your diet. “Whole grain” means the entire grain is used, providing more fiber and nutrients. Common whole grains are rolled oats, barley, brown rice, whole wheat flour and popcorn.
With so many products touting whole grain offerings, it can be difficult to decide which items to choose. An easy way to select products is to look for the Whole Grain Stamp. This stamp, with a sheaf of grain on a golden background, displays the number of grams of whole grain in a serving of the food. Any product bearing the stamp contains at least eight grams of whole grain per serving. Foods that are all whole grain, with no refined grain added, are marked with the 100 percent stamp. You may also refer to the ingredient list on the food label to make sure the whole grain items are listed first.
There are many ways to expand whole grains into your family menus. Brown rice is a great addition to almost any meal. If you’re in a hurry, instant brown rice cuts preparation time from 45 minutes to only about 10 minutes. Whole wheat pasta is a healthy alternative to conventional pasta, but it can be chewy – cook it a little beyond al dente. Look for whole grain cereals, tortillas and crackers. You can use crushed whole grain cereals (such as shredded wheat) as toppings for yogurt. Rolled oats or crushed bran cereals make great alternatives to breadcrumbs in recipes. Whole grain granola is excellent as an ice cream topping paired with fresh fruit or in a crumb topping on your favorite cobbler.
If you’re using whole wheat flour, the higher oil content makes it more perishable. Keep whole wheat flour in an airtight container in the refrigerator or cool basement.
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