Whole Grains The “Good-For-You” Food

Whole grains get two thumbs up from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) who recently announced new guidelines for healthier lifestyles. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 provides information and advice for choosing a nutritious diet. Among its recommendations is to make the most of each calorie you consume, choosing “good-for-you” foods, like whole grains.

During the no- or low-carb diet craze, many consumers blindly threw all carbohydrates¬–both good and bad–out of their diet regime. Whole grains are “good” carbs and fill an important dietary need. Unlike refined grains which have had their germ and bran layers removed in processing, whole grains retain their dietary fiber and play a key role in keeping bodies healthy.

Studies have shown that whole grains may help reduce the risk of developing many major diseases including heart disease, cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and certain cancers. Whole grains are low glycemic carbohydrates which means lower blood sugar and less insulin production. Whole grains are a source of fiber, which grabs onto toxins as it makes its way through the digestive system. And fiber slows digestion making you feel fuller longer.

Today’s new health guidelines recommend at least half of your daily intake of grains should com from whole grains; that is, try to eat at least servings of whole grain products each day. If hunger strikes and mealtime is hours away, grab a whole grain snack, like popcorn, to stop those pangs while supplying your body with needed nutrients.

Popcorn is a whole grain food which makes it a high-quality carbohydrate source that is not only low in calories, but a good source of fiber. This means it takes longer to chew and makes you feel full longer. Compared to many snack foods, popcorn is low in calories. Air-popped popcorn provides only 30 calories per cup. When oil-popped. It contains only 55 calories. Even when drizzled lightly with butter, it’s only 90 to 120 calories per cup.

Crunchy Popcorn Trail Mix

Yield: 9 servings

5 cups popped popcorn

3 cups whole grain oat cereal

1/3 cup raisins

1/3 cup peanuts (or other nuts)

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine

6 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Stir together popcorn, cereal, raisins and nuts in a large mircowavable bowl; set aside

Combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in small saucepan. Heat until boiling; cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour over popcorn mixture, stirring to coat evenly.

Microwave 3-4 minutes, stirring and scraping bowl after each minute. Spread onto greased cookie sheet; cool. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

Nutritional Information:

(Based on 1 serving)

Total Calories 230; Total Fat 13g; Cholesterol 15mg; Sodium 180mg; Carbohydrate 27g; Fiber 3g; Sugars 13g; Protein 4g

Article courtesy of The Popcorn Board,www.popcorn.org.


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