This week the Real Food Experience 2015 is all about whole grains. We are making the switch from processed white flour and rice and trying new grains. Sounds easy……..but there is a lot of confusing information out there. Here are some tips to help make things a little clearer for you as you navigate the grocery store.
Before we get started though, it’s important to know why we are making the change to whole grains. Is it because they taste better? Some do, but the real reason is all about the nutrition. Most of the nutrition is wiped out when a grain is processed. So…….we are eating and eating and likely gaining weight, but our bodies are still craving nutrition. We never feel satisfied. Eating whole grains helps our bodies get the nutrition it needs and leaves us feeling much more satisfied.
OK……that’s great. Now, how do I know if I’m buying whole grains?
1. It won’t be because you see “whole grain” on the front of the package. There are different labeling rules for the front of the package and the back of the package. To keep it real simple, the front of the package is like a commercial. The back of the package (the ingredients) gives you the real story. “Whole grain” on the front of the package means that there is some whole grain in the food. It does not mean that it is 100% whole grain.
2. “Multi-grain” that sounds really healthy. Sure, it does! However, once again you need to flip the package over and look at the ingredients. You could be looking at a food item that is a combination of processed grains. You want to make sure that your “multi-grains” are multi whole grains.
3. OK……..I get it. I need to look at the back of the package. So what do I look for there? You are looking for the words “whole wheat” or “whole grain” or “brown rice”. If it says “wheat” or “rice” it’s not “whole”. It’s processed and stripped of its nutrition.
4. If in doubt………….it’s probably not whole grain. Processed food is made cheaply and made to last a long time. Stripping the nutrition out of whole grains actually increases the shelf life. White flour does not need to be refrigerated. Whole wheat flour needs to be refrigerated.
5. Look for the Whole Grain Council stamp on packages at the grocery store. You can read here to get more information on what the Whole Grain Council stamp really means. I find it to be very helpful.
What do you find most difficult about identifying whole grains? What brands are your favorite? What advice do you have for others making the switch to whole grains?
I promise to keep bringing you the best and most accurate information on nutrition I can find……….and hopefully with a little bit of humor along the way as well. You can find lots of great information on this blog (check out the tabs above and the archives). You can follow what others are doing for the Real Food Experience using #RealFoodExperience. Make sure to subscribe by email so you don’t miss anything. You can also find lots of great tips, tricks, advice, and fun on my Facebook page and my other social media. Please join us and share us with your friends!