Whole grain foods are foods made with unprocessed grains. Any grain product can be made using whole grain flour and it is easy to tell whole grain from refined. Foods made with whole grain flour offer more nutritional benefits than those made with refined flour.
Whole grain refers to foods that are made using the entire kernel of a grain. Products that are not whole grain have had the outer casing of the grain removed. Other processing of the grain including cracking, rolling, crushing or cooking has still kept both the kernel and the casing of the grain in the food product. It is therefore still considered as a whole grain.
All types of grain are considered whole. Wheat, corn, rice, rye and oats are the most common examples of whole grains in an American diet. Whole grains more commonly consumed elsewhere include quinoa and millet.
Any food product that is made with grain can be made as a whole grain food. Popular whole grain foods include cereal and bread. Foods such as pastries, crackers and other snack items can also be made using whole grains.
How to Tell
Food labels are the easiest way to tell which foods are whole grain. The list of ingredients should state that the item is made with whole grain. If the list says that the food is made with bleached or enriched flour, then it is not a whole grain food.
Whole grains are beneficial to your health. They contain more nutrition than grains that have been processed and had their outer kernel stripped away. Foods made with whole grain also contain more fiber than those made with processed flour. The fiber from whole grains can help you feel full longer, thereby helping to maintain or lose weight.