Whole Grains!Whole grains are super-deluxe, nutritious foods. Refined grain products have lots of the nutrients and fiber removed and are basically just simple carbohydrates. While itís fine to eat some refined grain products, you donít want a steady diet of them. Aim for having at least half the grains your family eats be whole grains. Once you get used to the fuller flavor and texture of whole grains, the white stuff tastes pretty bland by comparison.
Unfortunately you canít necessarily tell a whole grain by its package or color. Packages that say wheat, multi-grain and made with whole grains are usually not 100% whole grains. Theyíre often made with refined grains and dyed with caramel color to make them look more wholesome. To be sure a product is whole grain the label must say Made with 100% whole grains or the first ingredient is whole grain of some type: whole wheat, whole oats, whole rye, etc.
Whole Grain Breads
If the label doesn't say 100% whole wheat, chances are the bread has more white than whole-grain flour. Do not be fooled by claims like natural whole grain goodness, made with natural whole grain or rich in whole grains. In most of these cases, the first ingredient will be white flour. Here are some reliable 100% whole grain breads:
- Pepperidge Farm 100% Whole Wheat Bread
- Brownberry 100% Whole Wheat Bread
- Sara Lee 100% Whole Wheat Bread
- Roman Meal 100% Whole Wheat Bread (Note: Roman Meal Original Bread is not whole grain.)
The whole grain pastas are now available in most supermarkets and are light and flavorful. No longer the grainy, heavy stuff of years past, the new pastas have a good texture and pleasantly nutty flavor. Often people canít even tell that theyíre eating whole grain pastas.
Whole grain pastas with a light texture:
- Ronzoni Healthy Harvest
- De Cecco
There are actually very few 100% whole grain crackers on the market though the boxes might boast pictures of whole grains and have multi-grain printed in bold letters. As with breads and cereals, the only way to be sure that a cracker is whole grain is to read the ingredient list. Youíre best off choosing a cracker that lists a whole grain as the first ingredient or the only grain. Next best is a whole grain as the second ingredient.
Whole grain crackers:
- Ak-Mak 100% Whole Wheat Stone Ground Sesame Crackers
- Back to Nature Harvest Whole Wheat Crackers
- Nabisco Triscuit, Reduced Fat
- Nabisco Triscuit Thins Crisps
- Nabisco Wheat Thins Reduced Fat
Pick cereals that list a whole grain first. Remember that wheat and unbleached wheat flour are not whole grains.
- Raisin Bran
- Shredded Wheat
- Total Whole Grain
- Nutri Grain
- Grape Nuts
- Kashi Cereals
Add a little brown sugar, cinnamon, chopped apple or a handful of nuts to make these extra tasty.
- Roman Meal
Brown rice has a wonderfully nutty flavor and aroma. Because of its high fiber content it sticks with you, keeping you from overeating. It takes about 45 minutes to cook so if time is tight, use instant brown rice that cooks up in about 10 minutes. If brown rice is too much for your family, mix white and brown rice together and cook according to the package directions for brown rice. It cooks up light and fluffy and has an attractive appearance