Choosing whole grains
Make at least half the grains in your diet whole grains. You can find whole-grain versions of rice, bread, cereal, flour and pasta at most grocery stores. Many whole-grain foods, including a variety of breads, pastas and cereals, are ready to eat.
Examples of whole grains include:
- Brown rice
- Bulgur (cracked wheat)
- Whole-wheat bread, pasta or crackers
It's not always easy to tell what kind of grains a product has, especially bread. For instance, a brown bread isn't necessarily whole wheat — the brown hue may come from added coloring.
If you're not sure something has whole grains, check the product label or the Nutrition Facts panel. Look for the word "whole" on the package, and make sure whole grains appear among the first items in the ingredient list.
What about white whole-wheat bread?
It may seem like it doesn't add up, but actually white whole-wheat bread is made with whole grains, just as is regular whole-wheat bread.
White whole-wheat bread also is nutritionally similar to regular whole-wheat bread. So if you prefer the taste and texture of white bread, but want the nutritional benefits of whole wheat, choose white whole-wheat bread over refined white bread.
A word of caution
If all of the grains you eat are whole grains, you may need to take extra care to get sufficient folic acid, a B vitamin. While most refined-grain products are fortified, whole grains are not typically fortified with folic acid.
Look for whole grains that have been fortified with folic acid, such as some ready-to-eat cereals. Eat plenty of other folate-rich foods, including fruits, vegetables and legumes. Folic acid is especially important for women who could become pregnant or are pregnant.