Whole grains include wheat, corn, oats, rice, quinoa, farro, rye and others. Even popcorn, an easy high-fiber snack, is a whole grain.
Whole grains contain phytochemicals, antioxidants, B vitamins, vitamin E, fiber and iron. Research shows eating whole grains may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity and diabetes.
At least three servings a day should come from whole grains. A serving size is 1 slice of 100 percent whole grain bread, 1/2 cup of whole grain rice, pasta, cooked cereal, or other grains, or 1 cup 100 percent whole grain cereal. Your local grocery store has many whole grain options throughout the store – whole grain pasta, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, tortilla chips, pretzels, pizza dough and waffles to name just a few.
So how do you find whole grain foods in the aisles? Look for the Whole Grain Stamp. It is yellow and is usually displayed on the front of the box or package. This stamp guarantees that a product provides at least half a serving of whole grain in each portion.
Whole grains can be incorporated into breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Start with whole grain cereal or try a whole grain muffin with peanut butter for breakfast, followed up by a slice of pizza made with a whole grain crust and some fresh fruit at lunch, and end your day with a grilled chicken breast, brown rice and broccoli.
Snacks can include whole grain pita chips and hummus or salsa, popcorn, or whole grain crackers with a cheese stick. So the next time you take a trip to your local grocery store, look for the Whole Grain Stamp and pick up some whole grain foods.
Spinach pasta salad
Makes 4 servings
All you need
6 ounces uncooked whole wheat pasta
2 tablespoons lemon juice (juice of half a lemon)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
4 cups fresh spinach leaves, cleaned and chopped
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas or other white beans, drained and rinsed
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper, to taste
All you do
1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, and cook pasta according to package directions.
2. In a large salad bowl, mix the lemon juice, oil and garlic. Minced garlic in a jar is handy!
3. While the pasta boils, clean and chop 4 cups spinach; drain and rinse beans.
4. Drain pasta and mix with dressing in the salad bowl. Add spinach, beans and feta; combine.
5. Chill for 1 hour or more, or simply enjoy it warm, with salt & pepper to taste.
Nutritional analysis: 400 calories, 15 g total fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 520 mg sodium, 54 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 13 g protein.
Recipe from The Whole Grains Council | www.wholegrainscouncil.org
Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at email@example.com.