Does anyone else dread the bread aisle at the grocery store? Whole grain, wheat, white, and white whole wheat are only a small portion of the options you see on the shelves. Every time I entered that aisle my brain would draw up all these questions about the taste, texture, quality, cost, and health benefits each bread has to offer. On occasion, I would get so overwhelmed I would walk down the aisle reach out my arm and grab the first loaf I saw. Personally, I like the taste and texture of white bread the most, but I prefer the health benefits that wheat and whole grain bread offer.
Just recently I have started buying whole grain bread since it is not only naturally low in fat, but it is also a good source of carbohydrates. The difference between whole grain and refined grain products is the bran and germ have been removed from refined grain making the product significantly less nutritious. Although refined grain gives baked goods a softer texture and extended lifetime, is not as rich in essential fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc. Whole grain lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even certain cancers.
A goal to shoot for is at least half of the grains you eat should be whole grains. This may sound like a difficult thing to make happen, but easy substitutions can help with this process. For breakfast, try whole grain cereal, oatmeal, whole grain toast, or a whole grain bagel. For lunch, make your sandwich on whole grain bread or swap your white tortilla for a whole wheat tortilla to wrap around your burrito. For supper, always use brown rice and add it to stews, soups, casseroles, or meat for extra body. Simple swaps like these will be easy to make and give you the great health benefits you deserve!