Every segment of the food service industry is seeing a rapid rise in the use of whole grains on the menu. Schools are now required by the federal government to use whole grains at every meal. Restaurants, even fast-food establishments, are featuring "ancient grains” due to the demand for healthier options when dining out. And many healthcare facilities now have wellness initiatives which influence the foods they’re serving campuswide, often including healthy, whole-grain options.
Whole grains or foods made from them contain all the essential parts and nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions. If the grain has been processed (i.e., cracked, rolled, or cooked), the food product must be manufactured to deliver the same balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed.
In other words, whole grain means that 100% of the original kernel—all of the bran, germ, and endosperm—are present.
Well-Known Whole Grains:
Other Whole Grains, Often Called “Ancient Grains":
Spelt and quinoa aren't older than oats or regular wheat; they're just harder to find, and they've been relatively neglected by crop breeders. Each ancient grain offers a variety of nutrients and potential health benefits. And many of these grains happen to be gluten-free, which is part of their recent rise to fame.
Whole grains have been shown to improve and maintain health in a variety of ways. Some of the most common benefits include:
Whole grains can be easily incorporated onto your menu. Try some of the following ideas:
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