How to Pick a Grain…

Next up in our grocery shopping tips series is what to look for when shopping for grain products, specifically in the bakery section of the grocery store.

Grain products are the portion of Canada’s Food Guide that provides us with the majority of the energy we require in the form of carbohydrates. Whole grain products provide us with fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds called phytonutrients. At a meal they should make up a quarter of our plates and can be included in snacks eaten through the day.

Your best buys in the bakery section will be the ones that are the least processed and are whole grain. Whole grains contain all three parts of the kernel of the grain: the bran, endosperm and the germ. Not all of your grain product choices have to be whole grain, but try and aim for at least 50%.

When grocery shopping, look for “100% whole grain” on food labels or “whole” in front of the type of grain on the ingredient list, such as whole grain whole wheat or whole grain barley. Some other examples of whole grains that don’t need the word “whole” in front of them because they are only used as whole grains in foods are: brown rice, buckwheat, cornmeal, millet, oatmeal and quinoa.

When shopping in the bakery section, look for products that are the least processed and have no or little added fat, sugar and salt. Look at the ingredient list to see if the first ingredients listed are whole grains.

Some whole grain products to try might be whole grain breads, buns, tortillas, pita breads, English muffins and bagels. Bakery items such as muffins, cinnamon rolls, pastries, cookies, cakes and pies will be higher in fat and sugar. These items should be viewed as treats and not as part of your regular intake of grain products.

As with most other foods, homemade grain products are healthier choices as you can control what goes into them. I realize that baking at home may not always be possible, so choose wisely when grocery shopping in the bakery aisle of your local stores.

Hopefully these tips make your grocery shopping a little easier and a little healthier. Do you have any great shopping tips you’d like to share. If so, email me at [email protected].

If you have any nutrition topics you would like me to write about or have a question you would like answered, email me at [email protected]. I would really like to hear from you!