When you hear Carbs are so bad, most of the time it is all about the grains category. And pasta, white rice, cereals, breads, and crackers all are lumped into the bad category – and that may not be true! In order to understand the good carb in grains, you will need to take a hard look at whether the grains are processed. Most foods are processed – especially if they have a label on them. Processed doesn’t necessarily equate to bad food. Processed just means the food has been processed in some way – wheat is processed through a flour mill. As long as it is still wheat and has the original fiber and nutrients it is considered to be an approved grain.
Want to learn more about each grain? Check out Whole Grains A to Z!
Now for the bad news – when grains are highly processed or highly refined you loose a big chunk of nutrients. Highly processed means it has been stripped of many nutrients and fibers and while some manufacturers may add nutrients and fiber from another source back in, it is still not the original nutrients. Let’s check out the most processed and highly desired cookie: Oreo Cookies.
Key Issues with an Oreo Cookie when just looking at the Nutrition Facts:
– Sodium, Saturated Fat and Sugar and the 3 top clues that this is highly processed. They need to add this in to make it taste good.
– Low Fiber – only 1 gram?
– Iron is added back in – how else could it be 10% of a daily requirement?
Then take a look at the ingredients. # 1 in all of the cookie parts is added sugar. Then comes all the dyes, high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oil, a little titanium dioxide… hmm, now we are talking full blown “let’s get this to taste good no matter what!” concept.
Compare the store bought highly processed cookie with with a good old fashion homemade cookie from fresh and just slightly processed wheat and you will get a completely different and way better nutrient density for your child. Why not try a great chocolate chip cookie!
What are the rules of thumb when choosing grains for your family?
- Look for the Whole Grain ingredient
- Get at least 2 grams of fiber – preferably 4 if possible
- Look for ingredients that you would use at home.
- Get the best cereal you can afford with ingredients you understand. Better yet, there are new brands of Oatmeal products on the market that you may love – like Love Grown.
- Test grains your family doesn’t usually try – like Quinoa or Wild Rice.
What are the right serving sizes for your family?
- Get 45% to 65% of your calories from Grains
- For Adults: 1 cup or 2 slices up to 4 per day
- For 5-8 year old children: 1/2 cup or 1 slice up to 4 per day
- For 9 -13 year old children: 3/4 cup or 1.5 slices up to 4 per day
Better yet – use your hand. Get up to 4 fist fulls per day!