Eating Well On a Budget: Part 4 – Grains
Posted on Friday, December 7th, 2012 at 8:00 am
Grains are fantastic because they are available in several varieties and can be enjoyed in countless ways! Whether you’re cooking up some grains as a side dish, or you’re making it the center of the meal, your body and your taste buds are in for a treat! The Environmental Working Group has compiled a list of 8 grains that provide you with the most nutrition at the lowest cost. All of these grains are loaded with nutrients, but contain very little sugar, so you don’t get that groggy feeling when you’re done eating. The Environmental Working Group recommends spending about $4 on grains for every $25 spent on your overall food budget.
The Environmental Working Group’s list of grains include: oatmeal, puffed whole grain, shredded wheat, bulgur, and brown rice with barley, puffed corn and toasted oat cereal being considered the best value. Additional grains not listed include bread, quinoa, white rice, pasta, etc. When shopping for whole grains, it’s important to ensure that the word “whole” is the very first ingredient listed. “Multi-grain” or “wheat” isn’t the same thing as “whole grain.”
Not only are many grains delicious, but they pack quite the nutritional punch! They contain fiber, B vitamins, iron, and are low in added sugar. Luckily, there are so many ways to enjoy grains because they are available in several varieties. You can choose to get them from a piece of toast, from your favorite pasta dish, from rice, oatmeal, and more!
If you’re looking to enjoy some oatmeal or puffed whole grain cereal for breakfast, be sure to check the nutrition facts before you buy. You want your breakfast grains to be low in sugar, contain at least 3 grams of fiber per serving, and doesn’t include more than 210 mg of sodium per serving.
Bread and pasta are an easy and delicious way to add some grains into your diet. Try getting your family used to whole wheat pasta or bread instead of the bleached white stuff. If your little ones start out eating it, they won’t crave the white pasta or bread. If they’re already used to it, try slowly introducing them to whole wheat by substituting half of your traditional pasta with whole grain pasta. With bread and pasta, pick the variety with the lowest sodium content. You also want to shoot for at least 2 grams of fiber per serving in bread and 5 grams in pasta.
The great thing about several grains is that you can buy them in bulk since they have a long shelf life when stored properly. Items like rice, pasta, cereal, or oatmeal can often be found in many health food stores unpackaged and ready to be purchased by the pound. Not only is this usually cheaper, but you’ll be helping out the environment by not using up cardboard or paper packaging!