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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Whole Grain Sampling Day

Whole Grain Sampling Day 2014
Whole Grains Sampling Day is here again! I can' hardly believe that it's been year already. I am so excited to be partnering with the Whole Grains Council as a whole grain ambassador again this year. You may have seen glimpses of my family enjoying some amazing products packed with whole grains over the past couple of months, both new-to-us foods and some old favorites. We've been so excited to add some new favorites to our pantry!

So yes, whole grains are good for you; they're healthy. But what so many people don't realize, is that they can also be utterly delicious. I love "meaty", nutty whole grains like steel-cut oats, farro, and brown rice. My family's favorite snack is popcorn. Wheat Thins and Triscuits are almost always on my shopping list. Cereal, both hot and cold...whole grain bread...cookies...baking mixes...some of the flours lining my shelves...all whole grains.

If ever you're in doubt, just check your box or package for the Whole Grains Council stamp (scroll down a bit and you'll see an example - it's yellow). Adding whole grains to your diet is simple. And my guess is, you may already be eating whole grains on a regular basis and not even know it.

Whole Grain Sampling Day
A couple of fun facts about whole grains (via the Whole Grains Council):
  • White whole wheat flour is made from an albino strain of wheat, and has all the nutrition of traditional whole wheat flour - but with a lighter color and milder flavor.
  • Sprouting grains increases many of their key nutrients, including B vitamins, vitamin C, folate, and fiber.
  • Refining wheat removed half or more of a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients - including 78% of its fiber.
  • 81% of Americans say they're trying to eat more whole grains.
  • Eating an average of 2.5 servings of whole grain foods each day can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by almost one-quarter.
  • Adding whole grains to your diet can significantly lower your risk of chronic diseases and illnesses such as stroke, diabetes, heart disease, inflammatory diseases, high blood pressure, and some cancers.  Switching to whole grains also helps with weight control.  Shoot for 3 servings a day for best health results.
Maybe you want to eat more whole grains, but just aren't sure where to start or what to look for.  While it seems like it should be obvious, it really isn't always that way.  The Whole Grains Council is helping to change that by putting their "stamp" on products that contain whole grains.  Each stamp will note the amount of whole grains in one serving.  But since not all products are labeled, and to help you get more familiar with whole grains, here is a list of some to look for in whole, rolled, or flour form.

whole grains:
  • Hulled Barley
  • Brown (and colored) Rice (gluten-free)
  • Buckwheat (gluten-free)
  • Whole Corn (popcorn included) (gluten-free)
  • Whole Rye
  • Whole Wheat
  • Wild Rice (gluten-free)
  • Amaranth (gluten-free)
  • Millet (gluten-free)
  • Quinoa (gluten-free)
  • Sorghum (gluten-free)
  • Triticale
  • Teff (gluten-free)
  • Oats (gluten-free)
Whole Grain Sampling Day
Are you ready to #SampleWholeGrains!? Here's what I received in my Whole Grains Sampling Box, and what one lucky reader will receive in theirs:
  • Among Friends - Jam Bar Baking Mix
  • Attune Foods - Buckwheat & Hemp Cereal
  • Barbara's Bakery - Snackimals Cereal
  • Bob's Red Mill - Gluten Free Honey Oat Granola
  • Carl Brandt - Mestemacher Rye Bread and Multigrain Bread
  • ConAgra Mills - voucher for 1 bag of Ultragrain flour
  • Dr. Kracker - Engine 2 Crispbreads
  • Freekehlicious - Whole Grain Freekeh
  • Goose Valley Natural Products - Brown & Wild Rice Fusion
  • HomeFree Treats - Gluten Free Cookies
  • Jovial Foods - Enkorn and Brown Rice Pastas
  • Late July - Multigrain Snack Chips
  • Lotus Foods - Rice Ramen
  • Mary's Gone Crackers - Gluten free pretzel sticks
  • Nabisco - Classic Wheat Thins and Brown Rice Triscuits
  • Pamela's Products - Whole Grain Whenever Bars
  • Popsalot Gourmet Popcorn - Cinnamon Popcorn
  • Real McCoy's Snax - Rice Puffs
  • Roman Meal - Whole Grain Bread (and a cute toaster USB drive)
  • Rhythm Superfoods - Super Food Chips
  • Skeeter Snacks - Nut Free Cookies
  • Upfront Foods - Straight Up Granola
  • War Eagle Mill - Corn Flour
  • Whole Grain Sampling Day T-shirt

My top 5 from this box: The Cinnamon Popcorn from Popsalot Gourmet Popcorn (the BOMB), Real McCoy's Rice Puffs (healthy Cheese Puffs), Bob's Red Mill Granola (always a favorite), Black Rice Ramen (it looks SO cool), War Eagle Mill Corn Flour (you know how much I bake, right). That said, there's not really a single thing that we disliked. But I do want to proclaim that while good, the "pretzel sticks" are actually broken breadsticks. Which is fine. I love breadsticks. But breadsticks are not pretzels. Just sayin'. 

Would you like a box like this delivered to your door? It's a great way to #SampleWholeGrains in new ways that you might not try on your own. Whether you're just breaking into the world of whole grains or are an old familiar, you'll enjoy this box of whole grain goodness. That's right, the Whole Grains Council has generously offered to send one of my readers a box like mine!

How to enter 
Leave a comment on this post answering this question: What is your favorite whole grain, your favorite way to get whole grains into your diet, a link to a dish that uses whole grains, or a pre-packaged whole grain food that you love? Be sure to check the box in the rafflecopter widget once you've done this for your entry to count - more optional entries will open up once you do!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Submissions will be accepted through 11:59 pm ET on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Winner will be chosen via random draw from qualifying entries and notified within 48 hours of the close of the contest. Winner will be given 24 hours to respond, and if they do not respond, a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to residents of the USA only.
I received a selection of whole grain products to sample but was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.