How to Eat and Identify Whole Grains on Labels

How to Eat and Identify Whole Grains on Labels

Last night we had our last class of our 12-week course, and a class member had a question for me. They showed me two packages of whole wheat pasta and wanted to be sure that they were, in fact, 100% whole wheat. The front of the box says so, there’s a pretty sticker on there that says so, but they still wanted to double check! Smart woman.

It’s unfortunate, but so often packages are identified as “whole grain” but are only partially whole grain– there’s also white flour, parts of grains (but not the whole grain), and other refined wheat products included, too. All of which are not whole grains.

Today, I’m sharing with you 5 tips for picking a 100% whole grain product. And if you haven’t gathered from the last 2 weeks of this series, we want the 100% whole grains!

I’m also sharing 5 whole-grain recipes with all sorts of different whole grains, this way, you might try something new!


5 Tips for Picking a 100% Whole Grain Product

  1. Never believe what’s on the front of the box. Don’t make the decision to purchase something simply based on the front of package, because those claims can be misleading. This doesn’t mean what’s on the front of the box isn’t true, but our goal is for you to read the nutrition label on the back of the box and decide for yourself if the product is good for you or not.
  2. Always read the ingredient label. Avoid products with added sugars, added oils/fats, and  refined grains. The ingredient label is the only place where you can see what is truly in your food. If you can’t read half of the label, maybe think twice about buying it.
  3. The word “whole” must be in front of the grain to be considered a whole grain product. Example: whole wheat flour vs wheat flour.
  4. Other words that still mean the grain is “whole” are: rolled, whole rolled, rolled oats, 100% durum wheat, stone ground, cracked, sprouted, whole grain (name of grain), brown rice, and wheatberries
  5. Avoid the “wheat flour”, bleached flour, unbleached enriched wheat flour, bran and germ. These words do not indicate whole grains!


So there ya have it, 5 Tips for Picking a 100% Whole Grain Product.


And now..


5 Whole Grain Recipes

  1. Hearty Vegetable Farro Salad (from Trish and Kirby’s appearance on Making it Grow!)
  2. Cozy Millet Bowl with Mushroom Gravy and Kale by Angela Liddon
  3. Vegan Fried Rice by the Minimalist Baker
  4. Crispy Quinoa Cakes by Angela Liddon
  5. Green Powerhouse Pesto Plate by Angela Liddon

Bonus: Easy breakfasts using whole grains

  1. Old fashioned oats microwaved with water then topped with chopped strawberries, chopped dates and plant-milk (Casey’s favorite)
  2. Stone-ground grits, cooked in the crockpot or on the stove, served with nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.
  3. 100% whole wheat toast topped with sliced avocado 
  4. Shredded wheat cereal served with plant-milk, chopped pears and bananas


Now, our challenge to you is to cook one new whole grain this week, then let us know how you liked it in the comments section below. Can’t wait to hear what you make!


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