Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal or barley is a grain. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, cereal, tortillas and grits are all examples of grains. There are two types of grains--whole grains and refined grains. Guess which ones are good for you? Right--whole grains. Make sure at least half of all your grains are whole grains. Examples of whole grains include:
Refined grains (that you should avoid) include:
It is important to eat whole grains because they are an important source of fiber. Refined grains go through processing that removes most of the nutrients, then they're added back at the end of the process. Fiber usually isn't added back, so you aren't getting much fiber from those products. Eating whole grains provides health benefits like:
The USDA recommends that adults eat between 6 and 8 ounces of whole grains. How do you know what an ounce is? In general, 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready to eat cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta, or cereal can be considered as 1 ounce. For a more in depth list of what constitutes 1 ounce, check out this chart from the USDA.
Don't forget--while eating whole grains is great for your health, a varied diet is the best thing! So make sure you're following the MyPlate guidelines and getting the other nutrients you need from fruits, veggies, protein and dairy! Click any of the links for more information.