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Kaylor: Do your grain choices make the grade?

By Staff | Sep 26, 2014

Making up at least half of our grain food choices, whole grains add up to better nutrition. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel: the bran, germ and endosperm. People who eat whole grains as part of a healthful diet can reduce their risk of chronic disease such as heart disease and cancer.

Children in schools will be having more whole-grain options available in lunch programs nationwide. Whole grains are healthier options for all of us.



Foods labeled “multigrain,” “stone ground,” “100 percent wheat” or “seven-grain” may not contain any whole grain.

  • True
  • False

Brown rice and whole-wheat pasta are examples of whole-grain foods.

  • True
  • False

Grain food that is brown is not necessarily a whole-grain food.

  • True
  • False

You can increase the fiber content in recipes by substituting brown rice or whole-wheat macaroni for white rice and regular pasta.

  • True
  • False

How did you do? All these answers are true. You can’t tell if food is whole grain by its color. Read the ingredient list and choose products that name a whole-grain ingredient first on the list. Some whole-grain food packages also carry health claims.

Try these tips to make half your grains whole:

Enjoy popcorn (always a whole grain!) as a snack, but make it with little or no added salt or butter.

Try 100 percent whole-wheat crackers as a snack.

Have whole-wheat buns, tortillas or bread as the base of your sandwiches.

Get the most nutrition for your money. Compare the fiber, sugar and other nutrition information on cereal boxes.

Be a good role model for children by serving and eating whole grains every day with meals or as snacks.

I know that eating breakfast is important for my family, but we never seem to have enough time in the morning. Do you have any ideas? – You are very right about the importance of breakfast. Breakfast provides energy to fuel your family for the day’s activities. Eating breakfast can help you maintain a healthy weight, and it helps you perform better at work or school.

Breakfast doesn’t have to be fancy, and you can take some steps to make breakfast an easy meal. Try setting the table the night before with cereal bowls, spoons, glasses and boxes of cereal. Set a bowl of whole fruit, such as bananas, on the table. Yogurt, toast and fruit are quick options. Muffins can be made ahead and frozen in zip-top bags. Hard-cooked eggs make a protein-rich breakfast food that can be eaten on the go.

Try making these muffins ahead of time and freezing them for quick breakfasts on the go.

Oatmeal-Fruit Muffins

1 egg

1 c. low-fat milk

1/3 c. canola oil (or other oil)

1 c. flour

1 c. oatmeal

1/3 c. sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

c. raisins or dried cranberries (or other dried fruit)

Cooking spray or butter/margarine to grease muffin cups

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Mix the egg, milk and oil in a small bowl. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, oatmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and dried fruit. Pour the egg-milk-oil mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir just until the ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix; the batter will be lumpy. Spray or grease each cup in the muffin pans. Fill each muffin cup half full of batter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the muffins are golden brown.

If freezing, cool muffins completely before wrapping in foil or placing in freezer bags. Thaw at room temperature or reheat in the microwave or oven. To reheat in the microwave, unwrap the muffin, place on a microwave-safe plate or paper towel, and heat on high about 30 seconds for each muffin.

Makes 12 muffins. Each muffin has 180 calories, 7 grams (g) of fat, 27 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber and 330 milligrams of sodium.

Source: Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, Food Wise

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