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Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Tips for Reaping the Benefits of Whole Grains

Here's how to select whole-grain foods and fit the recommended servings into your eating plan.
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Whole Grains and Fiber

Whole grains can be an excellent source of fiber. But not all whole grains are good sources of fiber. Whole wheat contains the highest amount of fiber of the whole grains. Brown rice contains the least amount of fiber.

Most people get their best source of fiber from whole grains, says Slavin.

"Most whole-grain sources yield from 1-4 grams of fiber per serving, comparable to fruits and vegetables and just the right amount when spread throughout the day," says Slavin.

Can't fiber supplements give you the same benefit? While you get plenty of fiber from these supplements you're missing out on all the other nutritional benefits of whole grains, explains Slavin.

 

Working more whole grains into your diet can be as simple as choosing whole-grain breads, cereals, English muffins, waffles, bagels, pasta, rice, and crackers.

Like the champions, starting your day with a bowl of whole-grain cereal energizes you and helps keep you trim. Successful "losers" from the National Weight Control Registry who have lost substantial amounts of weight -- and kept it off -- swear by the importance of eating a nutritious breakfast such as cereal each day.

Enjoy a sandwich at lunch with two slices of whole-grain bread and you are two-thirds of the way toward meeting your goal. What could be easier than eating air-popped popcorn as a snack?

Step out of the comfort zone and experiment with unusual grains.

WebMD's "Recipe Doctor" Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, likes to blend whole-wheat flour with all-purpose flour to boost the whole-grain content of her baked goods.

"Start where you are, find a whole-wheat or whole-grain bread or cereal that you like. Then work your way into new adventures. Whole grains taste and feel different to the mouth, and therefore it takes time to adjust to these new grains," advises Magee.

Other ideas from Magee include: Add barley to canned soup, and then boil to cook the barley; or try blended pastas that contain a mix of whole and refined grains. Cook up a batch of brown rice, eat it at dinner, and use the leftovers to add some pizzazz to yogurt, or mix it with vegetables for a vegetarian snack or lunch. Visit your local health food market and try your hand at some of the less familiar whole grains available.

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