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March 31, 2008 at 2:01 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Hunting For Whole Grains

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Choosing whole grain foods can often feel like stalking prey: you survey the area, zero in on your targeted loaf of bread, and grab it up only to find out it's made with refined flour and food coloring. If we were to analyze every item of food we put into our shopping carts, a trip to the grocery store would take days. How can we find the balance between a healthy diet and still maintaining some sort of life outside of food?

An Initial Time Investment

Shopping for whole grain foods will take some time initially; think of it as an investment. Once you determine what products you enjoy most and have the most nutritional benefits, they'll be easy to find next time. Finding the healthiest whole grain loaf of bread can take a while; you have to spot the bread, check the label for content and nutritional information, and then compare it to the others around. Stick with it though, after a few trips you'll know what bread you like best and it'll be smooth sailing after that.

Stock Up When You Can

Many whole grain items can be stored for long periods of time. Crackers, bags of grains and flours can all be stored long term. If you find an item you like, stock up on it so that it's always on hand. Many people keep jars of grains, beans and dry noodles on hand for whenever the craving hits.

Check Health Food Stores

Health and bulk food stores often offer a more diverse selection of whole grain products. Plus, buying in bulk or pound for pound is always a better deal, money-wise.

Know the Store

Some stores place whole grains in the organic sections while others sort them by country of origin in an ethnic or international section. Shopping at one store regularly will help you learn the location of the specific item you want.

Ethnic Stores

Ethnic or culture-specific stores are great places to go for whole grains and for new foods of all kinds. Ethnic stores often sell products for much cheaper than large chain stores, and usually you'll find better quality as well. Don't be shy to ask for cooking tips either.

Focus On the Nutrition Label

Ignore what the front of the packaging says, and read the back labels. Choose items that have a whole grain as the first ingredient, and limited amounts of other preservatives and chemicals. Choose a product low in salt and saturated fat, and watch the sugar quantity as well. Look for items higher in protein and fiber, and low in overall calories.

Be Patient

Hunting for whole grains may take time; be patient. Eventually you'll know just where to go for your specific item. Some stores stock the same item in at least two different places; eventually you'll learn where to look. Ask a store employee to help you save time. Once you have the grains, you'll need to know what to do with them. Check out new cookbooks or recipes online for specific information. Experiment with a new grain every week until you're familiarized with the cooking methods and flavors you like.

[sniplet Diet Defense]

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