What are Whole Grains? {Great GF options for runners}

August 9th, 2014 | Posted by Erica House in Life

This post is brought to you by UnitedHealthcare

Now that I’m in month 2 of marathon training I’m eating all the time.


Minimum of 2,000 calories a day and usually broken up into small plates every 3-4 hours. My metabolism is just in overdrive! I don’t follow any set dietary rules, but I try to eat as many veggies as possible, plant based protein, and now I’m being extra careful to get adequate carbohydrates in me to fuel my runs. I try to limit dairy and gluten as I just feel better not having a lot of them.

You probably hear the term ‘whole grain’ all the time, but do you actually know what it means? I did, but I had no idea what made the list of whole grains!

The Whole Grain Council defines a whole grain as:

Whole grains or foods made from them contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed.

This definition means that 100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ, and endosperm – must be present to qualify as a whole grain

So, what are some of the most common whole grains? Amaranth, Barley, Buckwheat, Corn, Oats, Quinoa, Rice, Wheat & Wild Rice.


Runners world has this great article on selecting the right whole grains to fuel your training. I usually eat brown rice a few times a week. I love making a healthy at home egg fried rice with broccoli:

Whole Grains2

Or have it as a side with some tofu and roasted veggies. Whole Grains3My favorite whole grain has to be oatmeal. My egg white oats were my breakfast for years until I recently switched to GF bagels!Whole Grains4I’m guessing that you eat whole grains daily, but maybe you didn’t even realize it. Now that you know you should head over to one of my favorite websites, UnitedHealthcare, and upload a photo of your meal with whole grains in it. Every month they host health related challenges and each week someone will win a $25 gift card, and the grand prize this month is a KitchenAid mixer! If you’re going to be that person who takes photos of their food constantly (like me) then now you have a great excuse to pull the phone out!

You now have the perfect excuse to eat oatmeal cookies. Go forth and enjoy your carbs my darlings.

Enter your Whole Grain photo here!

What’s your favorite whole grain?

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6 Responses

  • Annie says:

    Oooh, is that nutritional yeast sprinkled on your broccoli?

    My favorite whole grain is brown rice. I *love* that I can eat rice without feeling the effects of crashing afterwards. Yum!

  • Bari says:

    I’m trying to figure out this whole grains/carbs thing while staying relatively paleo-ish. About the only paleo approved carb I like is sweet potatoes and even those are getting old. I’ve started “cheating” with GF pancakes (the bisquick mix is awesome made with coconut oil and almond milk) and oats. It’s hard though cuz I want to eat all the freaking time but I don’t want to end up running the marathon 10 pounds heavier than I am now because I added a bunch of grains back in. I should start adding in some brown rice. It would probably do wonders for my energy level.

    • Erica House says:

      I’ve looked into Paleo before but as a vegetarian it was soooo boring. I basically wanted to just get back to eating clean, whole real foods, and that’s what paleo is. I wasn’t sold on some of the stuff they restrict though, and I definitely eat a lot of oats and brown rice! I do need to start getting some of my carbs from veggies again. Once Fall hits I’ll be loading up on acorn squash!

  • My favorite whole grain is DEFINITELY oats… oatmeal is love :) I couldn’t go paleo for that reason.

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