Whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet. Grains are the various seeds of grasses, which are grown for food. All types of grains are good sources of complex carbohydrates, various vitamins and minerals and are naturally low in fat. Whole grains grains that have not been refined are best for you. Whole grains are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. Whenever you can, choose whole grains over refined grains.
Whole Grains vs. Refined Grains
Whole grains have not had their bran and germ removed by milling. This makes them better sources of fiber the part of plant-based foods that your body doesn’t digest. A high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel more filling, so you stay full longer.
Refined grains, such as white rice or white flour, have both the bran and germ removed from the grain. Although vitamins and minerals are added to refined grains after the milling process, they don’t have as many nutrients as whole grains, and don’t provide as much fiber.
Rice, bread, cereal, flour and pasta are all grains or grain products. Eat whole-grain versions rather than refined grains as often as possible.
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Eat This, Not That by David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding lists some of the best and worst grain products:
Worst Cereal: Quaker 100% Natural Granola, Oats, Honey & Raisins (420 calories, 12 g fat, 6 g fiber)
Better Choice: Kashi Golean (140 calories, 1 g fat, 10 g fiber)
Worst “Healthy Pantry Item: Pop-Tarts Whole Grain Brown Sugar Cinnamon (2) 400 calories, 14 g fat, 5 g fiber
Better Choice: Sun-Maid Raisin English Muffin (1) 170 calories, .5 g fat, 2 g fiber)
Croutons are “oil-soaked, enriched flour cubes. Think of these as salad bar grenades-they’ll blow your healthy salad away”
Look for a cereal with less than 5 grams of sugar but not more than 10 grams of sugar per serving. Look for 3 grams of fiber per serving. The sugar to fiber ration should be no higher than two to one (example 10 grams sugar/5 grams fiber; or 5 grams sugar/ 2.5 grams sugar)
Remember that anything with the -ose ending is usually sugar (glucose, lactose, fructose)
Seek breads with more fiber per slice than sugar. The fewer the ingredients, the better.
My personal favorite bread, given my husband’s preferences, is Nature’s Own Whitewheat (serving size 2 slices- 100 calories, 2 grams fat, 5 grams fiber) compare this to Home Pride Butter Top Wheat bread (140 calories, 2 grams fat, 2 grams fiber) Whitewheat is described as a good compromise for finicky eaters. It carries the fiber load of whole wheat with a soft white taste. Wonder Classic is 120 calories 1 gram fat and NO fiber.
Check out the various Eat This, Not That books from the library or discount bookstores (WalMart, Target, online at Amazon. com) This is a book you can refer to on a regular basis. Take a good look before you buy. If you won’t use it, it isn’t a bargain.