Liz Weiss: Hi! I am Liz Weiss, registered dietitian, cookbook author and family nutrition expert. Ever wonder how to incorporate more whole grains into your diet? Well, I am here to show you just how easy it can be and to answer some common questions about grains.
First up, what is a grain? Any food maybe from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain, is considered a grain. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits are all examples of grain products.
So what's a whole grain? Every grain starts its life as a whole grain. A whole grain is the entire seed of a plant which includes the bran, the germ and the endosperm. Together these provide protein, fiber and many important vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Some examples of whole grains are whole oats, whole rye, whole wheat, brown and wild rice, whole-grain barley, bulgur, millet and quinoa. How much grain should you eat each day? To find out, checkout choosemyplate.
gov, it's a great resource to find the light amount of whole-grains for you, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Children over the age of two and all healthy adults should make at least half of their grains, whole grains. In general, one slice of whole wheat bread, one cup of ready-to-eat cereal or half a cup of cooked brown rice, cooked pasta or cooked cereal such as oatmeal, counts as one ounce from the grains group.
There are many ways to add whole-grains to your meals. You can substitute a refined grain product with a whole grain product, when preparing your favorite meals and recipes you can choose 100% whole wheat bread instead of white bread or prepare equal amounts of brown rice and white rice to use in recipes throughout the week.
Refined grains have been milled to remove the bran and the germ. This is done to give grains a finer texture and to lengthen their shelf life. Most refined grains are enriched to add that to nutrients that were lost in processing.
Enriched grains contain B Vitamins as well as iron. And the same amounts found in the original whole kernel and enriched grains are fortified with twice the folic acid and riboflavin as their whole grain counterparts.
The extra folic acid helps maintain a healthy heart and it's important for women in their childbearing years because it helps to prevent neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida.
Include grains when planning your meals, both whole-grains and enriched have many health benefits.