Pantry Makeover: Whole Grains

wheat, grains, whole grains

Much of the grains we consume these days are milled, and therefore stripped of many of the nutrients our body needs. Wheat for instance, loses half of its B vitamins, 90 percent of its vitamin E, and virtually all of its fiber in the milling process. Fortification adds back some, but not all, of the lost nutrients.

Mindful consumption of whole grains can improve our health in many ways:

  • Choosing whole grains instead of refined grains lowers cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin levels, which in turn may reduce cardiovascular disease
  • Choosing whole grains instead of refined grains may lower your risk of diabetes: a study that followed more than 150,000 women for up to 18 years found that women who ate whole grains 2-3 times a day had a 30 percent lower risk of diabetes than women who rarely ate whole grains
  • The healthy dose of fiber provided in whole grains fights constipation

Now, it’s time for a pantry makeover.

Here are some easy whole grain substitutions and other whole grain ideas that you can use daily for healthy and delicious meals:

  • Whole wheat berries, whole wheat bulgur or whole wheat couscous instead of pasta
  • Brown rice (try quick-cooking brown rice), wild rice or quinoa instead of white rice
  • Whole grain cornmeal instead of degerminated cornmeal
  • Oat groats, steel-cut oats, rolled oats  instead of cream of wheat or cream of rice
  • Whole grain bread containing at least 23 grams of fiber per 110 calorie slice instead of white or multigrain bread with less than 2-3 grams of fiber per 110 calorie slice
  • Hulled barley instead of pearled barley

Explore these other whole grains that you may not be familiar with:

  • Kamut and spelt (in the wheat family)
  • Triticale (pronounced tri-ti-kay-lee)
  • Millet
  • Teff (a tiny grain that has a sweet, malt-like flavor)

For more information on whole grains including recipes, visit the Nutrition Source.

Photo by Graur Razvan from


Does any bread contain 23 grams of fiber??? That's an entire day's worth of fiber in one slice! Do you mean 2-3 grams?

You're absolutely right! 2-3 grams of fiber per slice. Apologies for the typo.

I got 2-3 lbs of wheat from Farmer Peterson across the road and roasted it in a fry pan til it popped like popcorn and then ground it in a small coffee bean grinder. I put it in pancakes and it was wonderful. I need a bread recipe to use this grain for bread, add sunflower and flax seed and maybe get close to the wonderful whole grain breads I discovered Norwegians consume. Does anyone know what the proper processing for this grain is or whether it can be added to bread without roasting?

How about this recipe from The Nutrition Source?

Please let us know if it works.


Wheat berries can be either ground through a grain mill (look carefully for one that will grind grains into fine flour for bread baking) OR you can soak the berries to make a dense bread. I think the info is on the King Arthur flour website. Good luck!