Grain Product Tips

Tip #1: Make at least half your grain products whole grain each day

Many different and healthy grain products can make up the recommended number of servings we need each day.  But by focusing on whole grains, we’re more likely to get the fibre and other important nutrients naturally found in these foods.

What are whole grains?  Unlike refined grains, whole grains contain all three edible layers of the grain seed or kernel. Whole grains contain more vitamins, minerals, fibre and other compounds called phytochemicals than their refined versions, and it’s these nutrients that may help provide a healthy edge.   Whole grains include:

  • Amaranth
  • Brown rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgur
  • Millet
  • Pot barley
  • Quinoa
  • Spelt
  • Triticale
  • Whole oats or oatmeal
  • Whole rye
  • Whole grain wheat
  • Wild rice

Try substituting whole grains for refined grains:

  • Choose whole grain breads more often.
  • Choose a whole grain cereal like oatmeal a few times per week.
  • Enjoy brown or wild rice instead of white rice.
  • Enjoy whole wheat pasta rather than regular pasta.
  • Experiment with different grains such as quinoa, bulgur or buckwheat.

Tip #2: Choose grain products that are lower in fat, sugar or salt

Most grain products are naturally low in fat. Eating them plain or with only a small amount of oil or soft non hydrogenated margarine will ensure they remain a healthy choice.   Try to avoid heavy cream, cheese or oily sauces which can add a lot of extra fat to pastas and other grain dishes. Instead, enjoy lighter vegetable-based, lower sodium sauces on pasta, risotto and other grain dishes. 

Limit baked goods like cakes, doughnuts, croissants, pastries, pies and most cookies and muffins are usually high in fat, sugar, salt and calories. It’s best if these are replaced with healthier options such as:

  • whole grain English muffin instead of a croissant
  • whole grain bagel instead of a commercial muffin
  • whole grain lower sodium (salt) crackers rather than salted refined crackers

Check the Nutrition Facts table on food labels and choose ones that are made from whole grains and are lower in fat, sugar and sodium.