Liz’s Nutrition Notes: Shopping Wisely for Whole Grains

Quiz yourself: Which of these two breads pictured below is whole wheat?

This is actually a trick question – we can’t tell just from the picture!

In the above picture, the white bread is more than likely refined. Refined grains have been processed to improve shelf life and create a smoother texture. During the milling process, the germ and bran are removed. 
The brown bread pictured above appears to be whole wheat. HOWEVER, it may not be whole wheat. In order to figure out if bread or another product is whole grain, look at/for the following things:
  • Look for the National Whole Grain Council Stamp. There are different variations of the stamp. The stamp on the left is a “basic” stamp whereas the one on the right is the “100% stamp”
  • Check the ingredients list. Multi-grain breads are not necessarily whole grain breads. If the product is indeed a 100% whole grain product, then the first ingredient should have WHOLE in front of the type of flour. (i.e. WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR or WHOLE GRAIN FLOUR).  

Some quick tips:

  • If the first ingredient reads “wheat flour,” then this is not a whole grain/wheat product
  • There are whole wheat WHITE flour breads, meaning the bread is whole wheat/grain… in this case the bran is white so the bread is white. This has helped with getting children to consume whole grains. Again, read the ingredients and look for the word “WHOLE” in front of the type of flour
  •   A full serving of whole grains contains anywhere from 0.5-3 grams of fiber

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