Whole Grains Are a Whole Lot Better

Photo of whole grains.

People who eat whole grains may have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Most Americans consume enough grains, but few are whole grains. At least half of all the grains eaten should be whole grains. 

Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal is a grain. Grains are divided into two groups, whole grains and refined grains. Examples of whole grains include whole-wheat flour, bulgur (cracked wheat), oatmeal, whole cornmeal, and brown rice. Some examples of refined grain products are white flour, de-germed cornmeal, white bread, and white rice. 


  • Make simple switches. Swap a whole-grain product for a refined product. A simple switch could be substituting whole-wheat bread for white bread. 
  • Check nutrition labels for the word “whole” and check fiber content. Download MyPlate 10 Tips for picking whole grains at the store.
  • Ready-to-eat, whole-grain cereals such as toasted oat cereal are a great way to start the day.
  • Make a small shift by starting to mix brown rice with white rice. Over time, move towards eating all brown rice – you might not even taste the difference!
  • Try 100% whole-grain snack crackers.
  • For a change, try brown rice or whole-wheat pasta. Brown rice stuffing is delicious in baked green peppers, stuffed tomatoes, or a new recipe like our Chicken and Rice.
  • Use whole wheat or corn tortillas in your favorite recipes. Try savory Yucatan Chicken Tacos or sweet Banana Nut Roll-ups for a snack kids will love. 
  • Add whole-grain flour or oatmeal when making cookies or other baked treats.
  • Popcorn, a whole grain, can be a healthy snack if made with little or no added salt and butter.