In recent conversations I’ve had, questions have come about as to what whole grains really are. Understandably so, as marketing will lead you to believe that even Cocoa Puffs are a whole grain! As a result, here is a supplement to the post Healthy Cooking Tips Part II: Whole Grains.
The “whole grain” is the seed or kernel of a plant in its complete form. Grains have three parts, the endosperm which contains starch and protein, the bran – rich in fiber, minerals, and phytonutrients, and the germ – full of B vitamins, vitamin E and other antioxidants and minerals. “White” or refined grains like white flours and white rice are stripped of their most nutritious parts when they take away the bran and sometimes the germ.
Whole Grains Are:
In their natural state
- Brown Rice
- Bulgar Wheat
- Kasha (not to be confused with Kashi cereal)
- Oats, including Oatmeal
- Bread made with 100% whole wheat or grain
- 100% whole wheat Couscous (although technically a pasta)
Whole Grains ARE NOT:
Processed or refined
- Pasta (non 100% whole grain varieties)
- White Rice
- Breads made with whole grains or whole wheat
- Cheerios, Cocoa Puffs, Special K, Rice Krispies and Wheat Thins made with whole grains
- Ditto with any other cereal and cracker that is made with whole grains
- Enriched Flour
- Wheat Germ
* In regards to the cereals and crackers, processed whole grains and foods made with whole grains are without hesitation better than purely refined grains. It’s tough to find a breakfast cereal that is 100% whole grain and even remotely edible. Oatmeal is always reliable, but if you are looking for a great, healthy cold cereal here are a few I like: Cascadian Farms, Ezekial 4.9, and Nature’s Path.