Hearty whole grains are an easy and inexpensive way to make every meal filling and delicious.
A grain contains three parts – the bran, the germ and the endosperm. The bran is the outer layer of the grain that contains fiber. The endosperm is the middle layer that contains carbohydrates and proteins. The germ is the center core, rich in vitamins and minerals. Grains that contain all three parts are considered to be ‘whole’ grains. Some examples of whole grains are:
- 100% whole wheat bread
- Brown rice
- Whole oats/oatmeal
- 100% whole wheat pasta
When a grain is refined, the bran and germ layers are removed. Refined grains lack the fiber, vitamins and minerals that are found in whole grains. Refined grains are foods such as: white bread, white rice, white tortillas, cookies, cakes and some cereals.
Whole grains cannot be identified by appearance alone. To find a whole grain, check the list of ingredients on a food label and make sure the first ingredient listed includes the word ‘whole’. For example, the first ingredient in a whole grain bread should be “whole wheat flour” or “100% whole wheat”. If the first ingredient is ‘enriched flour’ or ‘wheat flour’, then the product is not a whole grain.