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Easy Ways to Eat More Whole Grains

Eating more whole grains makes good nutrition sense – they’re loaded with complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein and several other important nutrients, too. Follow this Giant Eagle® guide to learn delicious ways to add these “super foods” to your diet.
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Using the balanced-plate method, the general recommendation is that one quarter of your plate should consist of grains – at least half should be whole grains.

Why Whole Grains?

Using the balanced-plate method, the general recommendation is that one quarter of your plate should consist of grains – at least half should be whole grains. The fiber found in whole grains helps lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease and stabilize blood sugar. In addition, it's been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer.

How can you be sure you’re getting a true “whole grain” product?

  • Check the ingredients. Foods high in whole grains list this as the first ingredient – be sure the word “whole” appears; “whole wheat flour” is a whole grain, but “wheat flour” is not.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts. Multigrain, 100 percent wheat and stone ground products may not contain whole grains; check the amount of fiber per serving – most whole-grain products have two or three grams of fiber, refined grain prod­ucts will have one.

Great Sources of Grains

  • Whole grain pasta. Newer varieties have a much improved texture and better flavor than when they were first introduced; if you’re new to whole wheat pasta, mix it with your favorite refined-flour noodle until you get used to the taste
  • Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is an ancient grain with a delicious, slightly nutty flavor. Gluten free, it cooks in less than 15 minutes and provides more fiber, protein and magnesium than most other grains. Use it the same way you enjoy rice or other grains in salads, pilafs and side dishes.
    Try these quinoa recipes:
  • Rice. Brown rice is the gluten free option, but there are also long-grain, short-grain and instant types. Try wonderful, exotic rice varieties with unique aromas and flavors such as basmati (often served with Indian food), jasmine or Arborio rice. Each type has different cooking styles and uses. Also consider wild rice; it's not a traditional grain, but it adds fiber and new flavors.
  • Bulgur, or cracked wheat, is a quick-cooking grain rich in B vitamins, iron, phosphorus and manganese; it can be transformed into another popular Lebanese salad called tabouleh which travels well for lunch and is a hearty side dish anytime.
  • Couscous, a staple food of North Africa, is a tiny grain made from semolina wheat; available in a whole-wheat variety, it cooks in five minutes and makes a great side dish with added nuts and vegetables.
    Try these couscous recipes:
  • Corn is a classic grain. Try serving it in polenta — or surprise your family with an Appalachian breakfast staple, corn meal mush, served with maple syrup

Grains 101

  • Whole grains are minimally processed. Because they contain the complete grain structure, they are a superior source of fiber as well as important nutrients like selenium, potassium and magnesium
  • Refined grains are milled, removing the bran and germ, the parts that include the most fiber and nutrients – processing results in a smoother texture and longer shelf life; most refined grains are also enriched
  • Enriched grains have had nutrients added back in to replace those lost during processing – typically B vitamins, but the fiber cannot be replaced; some products are also “fortified” with synthetic nutrients such as folic acid and iron

Giant Eagle has more ideas for meal planning with whole grains; contact nutrition@gianteagle.com.

Brought to you by the Registered Dietitians at Giant Eagle and Market District®

Important Physician Advice Disclaimer: The content provided by Giant Eagle®, including but not limited to, website, recipe and health information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician for professional guidance before changing or undertaking a new diet program. Advance consultation with your physician is particularly important if you are under the age of 18, pregnant, nursing or have health problems.