Eating grains, especially whole grains, provides many health
benefits. Recent research suggests that whole grains can lower the risk
of heart disease, stroke, colon cancer, and diabetes. The grain group
includes wheat, rice, oats, corn, barley, and rye. Generally, adults
need the equivalent of 5 to 8 ounces each day. This is an achievable
goal due to how small of a serving size this is. One ounce equals one
slice of bread, one cup of breakfast cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice
Do you know the difference between refined grains and whole grains?
Most of us eat largely-refined grain foods such as white bread, white
rice, crackers, bagels, and pretzels. However, whole-grain foods such as
whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, and popcorn provide better
health benefits. That is why MyPlate encourages us to make half of our
grains whole. This means we should eat at least 2 ½ to 4 ounces of
whole-grain foods everyday. Unlike refined grains, whole grains retain
the highly nutritious bran layer and germ. These are lost during the
milling process to create refined grains. The bran and germ contain most
of the grain’s beneficial fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Antioxidants are compounds that help slow down the aging process and may
lower the risk of many diseases.
You can make economical choices and still include whole grain foods in your diet. Oatmeal that is packaged in a large canister is one of the lowest-priced whole grains. You can also look for store-brand shredded wheat, raisin bran, and bran flakes. Store brand whole-wheat bread often costs about the same as white bread. It is important to remember that when purchasing bread, a lot of “wheat” bread is made mainly with refined white flour with added coloring from caramel or molasses. Check for "whole wheat” on the label rather than just “wheat”. Whole-grain foods have about 3 grams of fiber per 100 calories or about 2 to 3 grams per slice of bread. Check the Nutrition Facts label on the package to see how much fiber is in the food before you buy. Try this delicious bran muffin recipe to help get your daily grains intake.
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Grease a 12-count muffin tin or line it with paper baking cups.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
3. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, oil and egg. Whisk until well blended. Stir in the apple and zucchini. Add all at once to the dry ingredients. Stir only until moistened; the batter should be slightly lumpy.
4. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until the muffins are golden and springy to the touch. Remove the muffins from the pan and let cool on a wire rack. Makes 12 muffins.
Per Muffin—Calories: 134; Total fat: 5.4 g; Saturated fat: 0.6 g; Cholesterol: 17 mg; Sodium: 142 mg; Fiber: 1.3 g; Carbohydrates: 21 g
This article is written by Markaye Russell, Area Nutrition Agent, Ouachita, and Union Parishes. This article is referenced by Smart Choices, Nutrition News for Seniors with the LSU AgCenter, MyPlate from USDA and Let’s Eat for the Health of It, Make At Least Half Your Grains Whole.