It’s whole grain week! So what better time to discuss these nutrition power houses and offer some tips on how to include them into your diet.

What are whole grains?

A grain is considered to be a whole grain if it contains all three layers of the grain. These include:

  • The bran: the outer layer
  • Endosperm: this layer makes up the majority of the grain
  • Germ: also known as the “embryo” this is the centre of the whole grain

In contrast, refined grains have been milled, which removes the bran and germ. This process creates a finer texture, longer shelf life and removes many beneficial nutrients including fibre. Examples of refined grains include white flour, white rice, white rice and white pasta.

Nutrient components of a whole grain

Each layer of the whole grain contains different nutrients. The bran contains fibre, antioxidants and important vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins. The endosperm contains protein, carbohydrates and small amounts of vitamins and minerals. And the germ contains essential fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and vitamin E.

Examples of whole grains

  • Wholegrain or wholemeal breads and pastas
  • Rolled oats
  • Wholegrain breakfast cereals such as Weet-Bix
  • Quinoa
  • Corn
  • Brown/black/red rice
  • Spelt
  • Rye
  • Barley

Meal ideas using whole grains

Now that we know what a whole grain is lets discuss how to include them in our diet!

  • Wholegrain or wholemeal toast, sandwich or wrap
  • Porridge for breakfast
  • Stir-fry or curry dish served with brown, black or red rice
  • Quinoa fried rice
  • Spaghetti bolognese served with wholemeal pasta

But I am gluten free, can I still eat whole grains?

Yes you can! Whole grains such as quinoa, corn, brown rice, amaranth and buckwheat are all gluten free.

How much whole gains should I eat per day?

The recommended serves of whole grains for Australian adults is four to six per day. One serve is equal to one slice of bread, ½ cup cooked rice or pasta, ½ cup cooked porridge, or 2/3 cup whole grain cereal.

Why not try swapping your regular white grains to a wholegrain option today, your body will thank you for it!