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Celebrate Whole Grains Month this September

Posted Aug 18 2011 5:48pm

September is around the corner folks, and do you know what that means? Whole Grains Month! And what better way to celebrate a food that loves your heart and your waistline than with a contest!?

The Boston-based non-profit Oldways has teamed up with  the Whole Grains Council (WGC) to kick off The Whole Grains Stampede – a sweepstakes designed to bring those delicious little whole grain morsels to top of mind.

The sweepstakes will award one winner a year’s worth of Quaker products plus $5,000 to spend on groceries – you can buy a TON of whole grains with that kind of $$$!

Whole Grain Stamp

To enter, keep an eye out for the Whole Grain Stampede stamp (see right) on your favorite products, then visit The Whole Grain Council’s website during September to share your fave products bearing the logo.

So what’s all the buzz about whole grains anyway? Well, lemme tell ya!

What is a whole grain?

All grains start out as whole grains. After a grain is milled, cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked, if it keeps all three parts of the original grain—the starchy endosperm, the fiber-rich bran, and the germ—in the original proportions, then it qualifies as a whole grain.

Structure of the whole grain:

  • The bran, which consists of the coarse outer layers of the kernel, has the greatest amount of fiber and is a rich source of vitamins and nutrients.
  • The endosperm is the largest section and the middle layer of the kernel. It is the main energy source of the plant.
  • The germ, the embryo of the plant in its early stages, is the heart of the grain and the smallest part of the kernel, but it is loaded with nutrients.

How do you know if the grain you are getting is whole?

The best way to determine if what you’re eating is made from whole grains is to read the food label, specifically the ingredient list. The FIRST ingredient should read whole wheat, whole oat, or whole oat. If the labels does not specify whole or says it is enriched, then it may have been refined and cannot be considered a whole grain. However, there are other ways to determine whole grain ingredients and content.

Other signals of whole grains:

  • A whole grain “flag” or “icon” displayed somewhere on the package.
  • A “made with whole grain” banner

There are some cases in which the food is a whole grain, but the label might not list whole grain as the first ingredient. These exceptions are: brown rice, popcorn, some oats, and rye.

So bulk up on your whole grains this September, and good luck with the Whole Grain Stampede!

 

-Lindsey

 

Full Disclosure: Lindsey Toth is a paid employee of PepsiCo, Inc., the parent company of Quaker Oats. All health and nutrition statements are the opinion of Lindsey Toth, and are not affiliated with PepsiCo or Quaker Oats.

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