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Super Food of the Week: Health Benefits of Whole Grains

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Whole GrainsIf you haven’t made the switch to whole grains yet, September is the month to jump on this bandwagon. Did you know that September is whole grains month? Whole grains are packed with nutrition! That’s why this week’s super food is whole grains.

Every year the Whole Grains Council celebrates the month of September with events and contests to promote the health aspects of whole grains. This year, they are promoting a special sweepstakes called the “Whole Grains Stampede Sweepstakes.” For this contest, you’re asked to try to collect 30 whole grain stamp symbols in 30 days; the first 300 people to enter will automatically receive coupons from a variety of sponsors. You’ll also be entered to win the grand prizes of $5,000 of grocery money with a year’s worth of Quaker whole grain products and an iPad 2 full of food and health apps for second place from ConAgra Mills!

The recent dietary guidelines recommend that all Americans make half or more of their grains whole grains. So, if you are eating 6 oz of grain products each day, 3 oz of them should be whole grains. A diet rich in whole grains has been linked to a variety of health benefits including lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and other health problems. They are a great source of fiber and other important nutrients such as selenium, potassium, and magnesium. Whole grains contain all essential parts from the entire grain, meaning that they have the bran, germ, and endosperm intact.

Some whole grain foods include:

  • amaranth
  • barley
  • buckwheat
  • corn
  • millet
  • oats
  • quinoa
  • rye
  • whole Wheat
  • rice (brown, wild, and colored)

Here are 8 easy ways you can incorporate more whole grains into your diet:

  1. Make pizza with whole wheat crust or mini pizzas on whole wheat English muffins.
  2. Have oatmeal for breakfast.
  3. Try brown rice or quinoa in place of white rice or potatoes one night.
  4. Use whole wheat buns for hot dogs or hamburgers.
  5. Try whole grain pasta.
  6. Use corn meal for corn bread or muffins.
  7. Stir a handful of oats or whole grain cereal into your yogurt.
  8. Substitute whole wheat or oat flour in pancakes, waffles, cookies, or muffin mix.

Whole grains come in many shapes and sizes ranging from large popcorn kernels to small quinoa seeds! Next time you go to the store, look for the whole grain stamp on grain products. Include the whole family in choosing what whole grain you will serve with dinner tonight!

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Tags: Healthy Eating , Superfood of the Week , Whole Grains

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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