Whole grains are an important part of any diet. To understand the term “whole grain”, you need to understand the anatomy of a grain. The Whole Grains Council tells us that a grain kernel consists of three parts, the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. A whole grain has all three parts of the kernel in tact. Sometimes grains are refined, meaning one or more parts of the kernel has been removed. The problem with refined grains is that when a part of the kernel is removed, so is a part of the dietary fiber, iron, and B vitamins naturally found in grains. To put more simply, a whole grain still has all its parts and all its nutrition. A refined grains is missing some of its parts which lowers its nutrition. To get the nutrition that we need in our diet, MyPlate encourages us to make at least half our grain servings each day from a whole grain source.
Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, or another cereal grain belongs in the grain group. The Whole Grains Council provides a comprehensive list of whole grains on their website. You can find it by clicking here. Check it out then come on back and read on to find out how to cook each type of grain. Better yet, print the Going Grain handout below and keep it in your kitchen for an easy reference.
For more information on whole grains, visit wholegrainscouncil.org. See some of my favorite grain recipes below. Enjoy!
Certified Nutrition Education Ambassador