Ways To Eat More Whole Grains For Better Glucose Control

Cooking and baking with whole grains, because they provide more fiber than refined grains, can improve blood sugar control and help with weight management.

Though fiber is a carbohydrate it is not broken down in the body, so fiber does not elevate glucose, or contribute calories. Fiber-rich foods also help us feel full and satisfied, keep our digestive plumbing running smoothly, and contribute to good cardiovascular health.

Eating More Whole Grains

There are many ways to get more whole-grain foods into our diet, and here are some suggestions; consider making two or three of them a habit:

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  • Rice and Pasta. Cook more often with whole grain brown rice. It has a more substantial texture, and nuttier flavor that white rice, but is far more fiber and nutrient rich.
  • Regular pasta provides about two grams of fiber per serving, whereas whole grain pastas provide about six grams per serving. Those reluctant to use whole grain pasta might try serving a mix of half-regular, and half-whole grain.
  • Breads, Pancakes, and Tortillas. Look for whole grain corn bread mixes, such as the one offered by Bob’s Red Mill. It not only contains stone-ground cornmeal, but also whole wheat pastry flour instead of refined flour.
  • Avoid breads and rolls made with enriched bleached flour, and choose 100 percent whole grain options.
  • Pancakes are often fiber deficient. However, some companies make a whole grain pancake mix (e.g., Arrowhead Mills, Krusteaz) providing up to 6 grams of fiber in two pancakes.
  • Look for whole grain tortillas. If the grocery store doesn’t carry them, check local or online health food outlets.
  • Quinoa, Barley, and Bulgur. Quinoa prepares as easily as rice, and makes a good rice substitute. It provides all the essential amino acids, plenty of magnesium, and is a good fiber source.
  • Add barley to most any soup, casserole, veggie dish, stew, or salad since it takes on the flavor of foods it’s combined with. Hulled, or hull-less whole grain barley has optimal fiber, but faster-cooking pearl barley has plenty.
  • Bulgur is another grain that can be added salads, soups, and casseroles. Partially cooked and cracked whole wheat berries have almost the same fiber and nutrient value - plus cook faster - than the regular whole wheat berries.
  • Three Baking Flours. When baking, consider substituting up to half the all-purpose flour with white whole wheat flour, such as that packaged by Hodgeson Mill. A second option is whole wheat pastry flour; it can be used to make most baked goods. A third option is substituting whole wheat flour for up to half a recipe’s all-purpose flour. Whole wheat flour may slightly alter the texture of some baked goods.
  • For those who hate to bake, look for whole grain brownie and cake mixes by companies such as Baker Mills. Also, don’t forget about oatmeal, a superb source of soluble fiber. Enjoy oatmeal for breakfast, and be on the lookout for recipes that call for it.

Keep in mind that everyday most Americans only take in about half their recommended 20 to 35 grams of fiber. Chances are we need more fiber than we're currently getting, and eating more whole grains will help.

Sources: Joslin; Diabetic Living

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