Grains constitute a vital part of our diet. Most grains are naturally low in fat and are great sources of complex carbohydrates and key vitamins (B) and minerals. Hands down, a healthier option!
Whole grains are basically unrefined grains that are not stripped off their germ and bran through milling. Refined grains as we know, are milled, hence this erodes the bran and germ over them. This whole gamut of milling provides a much finer texture to the grains also improving the shelf life. However, it strips away that much needed dietary fiber, other nutrients and most importantly the iron content.
Whole grains thus make better sources of important nutrients such as magnesium, potassium and selenium. Whole grains are highly fibrous too, which is excellent for accelerating weight loss and systematizing bowel movements. They are (a) single foods like popcorn and brown rice or (b) food ingredients like whole wheat in various breads, whole cornmeal, brown rice, buckwheat in pancakes and oatmeal. Thankfully, they come in many shapes and sizes.
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines have also recommended ‘making half your grains whole’. Suggesting a simple and an easy way of customizing whole-grain foods into your healthful diet is by making the right choice, starting with bread. Hunt for labels that read – ‘whole wheat flour’ or ‘whole wheat’. Sure, these are not difficult to source, every departmental store stocks them. The content also lists its ingredients by weight, so choosing an item which says whole- grain is an excellent choice you’ve made. But be warned! Do not get fobbed off with labels that read, ‘source of whole grain’; ‘seven-grain’; ‘made with whole grain’; ‘multigrain’; ‘pure wheat’; “stone-ground’; ‘cracked wheat’ so on and so forth. Foods usually tagged with such labels are not generally whole grain products.
Remember, grains do not only help balance your sugar levels, thus in consequent weight loss, but they also help keep bowel moments calm and regular.
Here are some great tips to make whole-grain your way of life:
- Try unsweetened whole grain cereal or crushed oats and roll as a breading for baking some hearty cutlets, fish or chicken.
- Try wholegrain tortillas for lunch! Fill them with salmon and cream cheese or red kidney beans and avocado!
- Roll up ground barley or oats to some seasoned beef or add them in any mixture to bake a chicken or veggie burger.
- Dip chicken breast chunks in egg whites and roll them in oat bran. You guessed correct. Healthy chicken nuggets for the whole family.
- Whole-grain crackers serve as an excellent snack and dip with your low calorie coffee or tea, just as popcorn without salt and saturated fats.
- Dark chocolate-coated snack bars are also widely available, on the shelves of many store counters at cheap rates. These can satiate your post lunch/dinner hunger pangs.
- Try mixing at least half a cup of whole-grains to your refined grains.
- Try whole-wheat macaroni or brown rice with low fat cheese or soy cream to cook up yummy meals for your kids.
Try to teach your kids the importance of drifting to whole-grain foods over the refined ones. Alternatively, you can also teach them some quick easy-to-make recipes, which can be a real fun session for the entire family too!
Enjoy the goodness of whole-grains in your every day diet and spot the difference to your health. Proactively and steadily measure the progress of making at least half your grains whole – you will thank yourself for that change.
Best of Health,