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How to get more whole grains

Before switching bread, start with other substitutions.

The current federal dietary guidelines recommend eating at least 3 ounces of whole grains a day and suggest that half of all grains consumed be whole grains.

Generally, one slice of bread; a half-cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta or cooked cereal; or one cup of ready-to-eat cereal constitutes 1 ounce of grains, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The food pyramid Web site (MyPyramid.gov) lists several prepared foods that contain 1 ounce of whole grains: one 6-inch whole-grain tortilla, one mini whole-wheat bagel, 3 cups of popped popcorn or one 4 1/2 -inch-diameter whole-wheat or buckwheat pancake.

Some less familiar whole grains, such as quinoa and whole-wheat couscous, are becoming easier to find in grocery stores.

Most Americans like their bread light and fluffy, and certain whole-grain breads can be dark and dense and not that palatable. Bonnie Jortberg, a senior instructor in the department of family medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, recommends trying different brands to find one that's tasty and nutritious: "Some cereals are high in fiber but taste like cardboard," she says. "You have to do a little experimenting."

It might be easier to make other substitutions first before tackling bread: whole-grain pasta for pasta made with white flour, or brown rice for white.

Jortberg recommends allowing some time to adjust: "I think a lot of times it's about getting used to a different consistency. But you really can retrain your taste buds."

-- Los Angeles Times

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