Whole Grains Explained

Everyone loves to eat grains.  Pasta, bread, rice, oatmeal -- there are many delicious grains to choose from. Our daily goal is to make sure that at least half of the grains we eat are whole grain.

What is a whole grain?
A whole grain product contains the entire seed (or kernel) of the plant.  This seed contains the bran, endosperm, and germ.  White bread and flour does not contain the bran, endosperm, and germ.

Photo courtesy of Whole Grains Council

Why is a whole grain product healthier than a refined product? 
A product that has been refined removes the bran and the germ, leaving only the endosperm.  When you remove the bran and germ you remove protein and other important nutrients such as fiber and B-vitamins.  B-vitamins provide our bodies with energy while fiber helps us feel full and satisfied.  A whole grain product contains all of these nutrients.

How do I know if a product is made from whole grains?
Start by checking out the ingredient label located on the back of the product.  If the first ingredient is "100% whole grain" or "whole grain" or "whole wheat"  you know that the food you are eating is made from whole grains.

What are some popular whole grain foods?
  • Wheat 
  • Corn
  • Oats
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Quinoa

To learn more about whole grain foods and shopping at the grocery, see this video.

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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall