Better Grains

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Wheat, corn and rice are the grains that Canadians most often. What about all the other whole grains available to us? Since many of us follow the rule of eating a variety of vegetables and fruit, isn’t it the same deal with grains?


It is! In fact, eating a wide range of whole grains can improve your health and keep your meals interesting. This doesn’t mean giving up wheat or not eating bread, it means adding other grains into your eating routine.


Whole grains have three parts; endosperm, germ and bran. This makes whole grains better for us. They have more nutrients, more flavor and are more filling. Refined grains have some of these parts removed during processing. They are no longer whole grains.


Common whole grains are: whole grain whole wheat (including wheat berries, spelt, bulgur, kamut and spelt), corn (popcorn), brown rice, wild rice, barley, whole rye, quinoa, millet, amaranth and buckwheat. Make at least half of your grain servings whole grain every day.



“Knead” to know tips for bread shopping.

  • Check the package for “100% whole grain” in the product name and then look to see if whole grains are listed in the first few ingredients.
  • Whole wheat, multigrain, stoneground and organic do not mean whole grain. “Made with whole grain” means that some, but not all, of the grains are whole grain.
  • Don’t judge bread by its color. Dark bread isn’t automatically whole grain. Use the ingredient list. Look for the word whole in front of the grain. Examples; whole oats, whole rye, whole grain whole wheat.
  • Don’t forget to look for whole grain wraps, English muffins and bagels.


Beyond Bread

  • Switch white pasta to whole grain pasta or quinoa, corn or kamut pastas
  • Switch white rice to brown or wild rice (try mixing them together)
  • Instead of rice try quinoa, millet or bulgur as they can be cooked and eaten just like rice.
  • Choose whole grain cereals with oatmeal, kamut, kasha (buckwheat) or spelt.
  • Add oatmeal to your ground meats when making patties, meatballs or meatloaf. (start with ¾ cup oats for every 1 pound of meat).
  • Snack on popcorn (air popped is better).
  • Go back to barley! Toss it in salads, soups or stews.
  • Start using whole grain flours or oatmeal when baking.


For more help choosing, cooking and eating whole grains visit Sobeys Aberdeen Mall or George Street where you can find Emily Harnish, Registered Dietitian. Email: or phone: 902-755-3645.


On Facebook?  ‘Like’ our Sobeys Dietitians page and receive recipes, tips, and other information!



Emily’s Recipe Corner      


Rice & Bulgur Greek Salad


Serves 6



⅓ cup             75ml               Bulgur

2 ½ cups       625ml                        Water, boiling

¾ cup             175ml                        Chicken broth, sodium reduced

⅓ cup             75ml               Rice, wild and brown blend, rinsed

½ cup             125ml                        Tomatoes, roma, diced

⅓ cup             75ml               Parsley, fresh, chopped

2 tbsp             30ml               Green onion, sliced

¼ cup             60ml               Salad dressing, Greek flavored



1. Pour water over bulgur (water level will be much higher than bulgur). Soak for 1 hour and drain excess water.

2. Bring broth and rice to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Drain any excess broth and let cool.

3. Mix bulgur, rice, tomatoes, parsley, green onion and salad dressing in a salad bowl to serve.


Nutrition Information per serving:

Calories                    75

Fat                              3 grams

Carbohydrate           11 grams

Fibre                           1 grams

Protein                       2 grams

Sodium                      201 milligrams


Tip: Change the flavor by using other fresh herbs like cilantro, basil or oregano instead of the parsley.


Source: Sobeys Dietitians


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