Cook with whole grains, obtain better nutrients

By Blake Glosson

Students learned a few tasteful lessons about the benefits of whole grains in a cooking demo Wednesday.

The purpose of the demo was to increase awareness for foods that have whole grains and to encourage students to implement these healthy ingredients into their diets whenever possible. As a health nut, I’m all for students getting more whole grains.

Amanda Miller, graduate nutrition and dietetics student, organized and led the cooking event. She prepared three unique dishes for students to sample: butternut squash macaroni and cheese, quinoa pilaf and oatmeal energy bites.

She felt these foods would put people more at ease when it comes to eating whole grains.

“The purpose is to teach students about whole grains and the benefits of whole grains,” Miller said. “Just to get people interested in trying them and making them seem less scary.”

Students did not show much fear when it came to sampling the foods. Roughly 60 students stopped by to grab a bite and to learn a little following their workouts at the Recreation Center.

“Carbohydrates are a really great source of energy for our bodies, and we need to make sure they’re coming from good sources such as whole grains,” Miller said. “[For] college students who are exercising a lot, having good carbohydrate sources will really help to fuel their workouts.”

Students should try to make at least half of their grains whole grains.

Whole grains are satiating and offer plenty of B vitamins, which assist in energy metabolism and maintenance of healthy skin.

Senior sociology major Nathan Tripp was more willing to incorporate whole grains into his diet because of the demo.

“I’m really glad I went by because I picked up a few new recipes I’m gonna try out and just some extra knowledge on how to get whole grain into my diet,” Tripp said.

Whole grains are grains that have not been modified through milling or refining processes which remove key components of the kernel. Because of this, whole grains contain the fiber and important nutrients refined grains lack.

Common sources of whole grains include whole wheat bread, pasta, oatmeal, brown rice and many cereals. All of these are easy to find in any supermarket, and are very affordable for college students.

While it might seem like a lot of effort to increase your intake of whole grains, switching from a predominantly enriched grains diet can be a piece of cake — made with whole wheat flour, of course.

More and more grocery stores are starting to provide whole grain options for chips, popcorn, hamburger buns, tortillas, pasta and more. By choosing these alternatives over their enriched-grain counterparts, you can continue to eat the grub you love while reaping the benefits whole grains provide.

Students who are interested in learning more about whole grains and healthy dieting can attend nutrition counseling sessions through nutrition services at the Rec. The first two sessions are free of charge. You have nothing to lose, so give it a shot.

Additional information about nutrition counseling can be found on the Campus Rec website at