Make Whole Grains Your
A decade or so ago when the dietary guidelines and the Food Guide
Pyramid were developed, grains were chosen as the base of the
pyramid. This is because at least 50 percent of our total calories
should come from complex carbohydrates, which are found mostly
in grains. Most grain foods are loaded with fiber, vitamins and
minerals, and useful plant compounds called phytochemicals. They
also contain protein and are low in fat.
Grains are especially good for older people who may have trouble
Older Oconto County Adults
getting all the nutrients they need.
Nutrition Information for
Whole-grain varieties of foods such as bread, cereal, pasta and rice
contain the entire edible part of any grain. Whole grains consist of:
• The outer bran layer, which is rich in B vitamins and fiber.
• The inner endosperm, which contains most of the protein and
carbohydrate but only small amounts of vitamins and minerals.
(White flour is made from the endosperm.
• The germ, which has B vitamins, trace minerals, and some
No one has pinpointed why whole grains offer extra protection, but it
is known that they are much higher in fiber than refined grains, have
more in the way of various nutrients, including vitamin E and
magnesium, and contain plant compounds that help to stave off
chronic diseases. At present, only 5 percent of the grain foods we
eat are in whole-grain form.
Don't be fooled into thinking a product is made from whole grains
because it is brown. The color can come from molasses. The first
ingredient on the label must say "whole-grain" or "whole-wheat,” not
simply "wheat bread" or "wheat rolls." Fanciful terms on the front of
the package like “multi-grain” and “7-grain” don’t insure that the
product is truly whole-grain.
So Many Grains....
Look for the following when choosing whole-grain foods:
• Breakfast Cereal: Look for "whole-grain" on the package. Check
the ingredient list for the word "whole" before these grains: oats,
wheat, rice, corn, and barley.
• Bread: Bread that is called "whole-grain" is not required to be
100% whole grain. Check the ingredient label to make sure whole-grain flour is used in greater
quantity than other flours. Whole-grain flour should be the first flour listed.
• Rice and Pasta: Brown rice is the only whole-grain rice. Most pasta in this country is not whole-
grain. Ask your grocer to stock a selection of basic whole-grain pastas.
Are You Big on Breakfast?
Research shows people over age 50 are more likely to eat breakfast than young adults are. And
those who start the day with a bowl of fortified cereal tend to consume more fiber and calcium but
less fat than people who have other foods for breakfast. Fortified cereals provide a more
concentrated source of micronutrients than any other food in older adults' diets. Cereal eaters are
also more likely to consume fruit juices.
Whole grain cereals include: Cheerios, Granola or Muesli, Grape-Nuts, Nutri-Grain, Raisin Bran,
Shredded Wheat, Total, Wheaties, Oatmeal, Roman Meal, and Wheatena.
Grains Serving Sizes
A serving equals: One slice of bread, a small muffin, a pancake, ½ bagel, English muffin, or
hamburger bun, ½ cup cooked rice or pasta, ½ cup of cooked cereal or 1 ounce cold cereal.