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Nutrition

Choose whole grains for at least half of your daily grain servings

The body needs carbohydrates mainly for energy. The best sources of carbohydrates are whole grains. Whole grains are an important source of fiber and other nutrients. Whole grains take a longer time for the body to digest than refined grains, which keeps blood sugar and insulin levels from quickly rising and falling. Better nutrition choices can keep you feeling full longer and can help prevent Type II Diabetes.

What does "whole-grain" mean?

A whole-grain or a whole-grain product is made from the entire grain seed, usually called a kernel. To determine if the food you choose is a whole-grain, start by looking at the nutrition label. One of the following should be listed as the first ingredient to be considered a whole grain: brown rice, bulgur, graham flour, oatmeal, whole-grain corn, whole oats, whole rye, whole wheat, and wild rice. If the first ingredient listed on a nutritional label is wheat flour, enriched flour, or degerminated cornmeal, the item is NOT whole-grain.

There are many terms used on products that sound like they might be whole-grain. However, this is not always the case. Foods labeled with words like multi-grain, stone-ground, 100% wheat, cracked wheat, seven-grain, or bran are usually NOT whole-grain products.

For a comprehensive listing of which products are whole-grains and which are not, please visit http://www.mypyramid.gov/pyramid/grains.html.

Tips for reaching your whole-grain goal
  1. Choose whole-wheat bread or a whole-wheat tortilla over white bread.
  2. Choose brown rice instead of white rice.
  3. Many pasta varieties are available in whole-wheat. They are a bit more expensive than regular pasta, but this is a great way to add to your daily whole-grain intake.
  4. Choose whole grain cereal instead of sugary cereals (adding fruit can be a great way to add a little sweetness to your cereal and help to meet your daily fruit requirement).
  5. Popcorn, believe it or not, is a whole grain and, as we all know, makes a great snack. Go easy on the butter and salt to make this a healthy choice.
How to choose whole-grains on campus
  1. Ask for whole wheat bread or a whole wheat tortilla when you buy a sandwich item.
  2. Bring your own whole wheat crackers or air-popped popcorn to snack on for a healthy choice throughout the day.