Usually you think of whole grains as brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole wheat noodles, oatmeal, whole wheat pita and maybe whole wheat couscous if you are adventurous.
But did you know that you can now buy whole wheat versions of: Goldfish crackers, Chocolate Lucky Charms, Krispy Kreme donuts, Triscuits, Wheat Thins, Mini Bagels and Chocolate Chip Cookies?
We received a call from a subscriber to our newsletter, Communicating Food for Health, who was trying to make sense out of all of this for a presentation she was giving. Well, we have done quite a few educational materials on whole grains - posters, powerpoint shows, newsletter articles and more. But her question was so right - how does the average consumer know what to buy anymore? Can a Krispy Kreme Donut count as a whole grain serving?
We ended up turning the answer for her question into an entire new powerpoint show. And having a lot of fun along the way. No, we didn't buy the Krispy Kreme donuts, but we did buy the other things and everyone here had quite a bit of fun indulging. The puppies got ahold of the goldfish crackers and devoured all of them, even the crumbs. Ah, the pleasures of not-refined refined carbohydrates!
Here is the loot:
Okay - so we had to come up with 3 new rules on how to buy whole grains:
1) Is it really a whole grain? You have to read the ingredient list to find out. If it starts with a whole grain ingredient, it is most likely a whole grain. Package claims might include 100% whole grain, Excellent Source of Whole Grain or Made with Whole Grain.
2) Is it heart healthy? Some of the crackers and breads do not meet this guideline - they are too high in fat, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium. 5% of less of the daily value is optimal for saturated fat and sodium and 0 is the goal for trans fat.
3) Is it not too calorie dense? Foods with added sugar and fat are often very calorie dense. So, the cookies, sweetened cereal and donuts won't get past this question.
One of our favorites? The old fashioned oatmeal!
A bowl of oatmeal is so easy to make - just 3 minutes in the microwave:
1/2 cup oats + 1 cup water and some raisins
3 minutes on 80% power and voila - you have one of the lowest calorie, wholesome grain dishes that is great for breakfast or a snack.
No sodium, heart-healthy fat and plenty of fiber:
Compare that to the packaged stuff!