Simply Healthy Family: Common Food Mistakes


Common Food Mistakes

I have known about this for some time. I used to think I was a conscious shopper, but labels can be very misleading. It's best to make your own bread and it's really not as hard as you think, especially if you have a KitchenAid or similar mixer. If you don't make your own at least be informed of the nutrition information on bread, cracker and cereal packaging. Here is a great tip I found here. Also see my recipes for easy, healthy bread and muffins.

Healthy eating tip No. 1: You reach for multigrain bread or cereal

You're standing in the grocery aisle, faced with a choice. On the one hand, there are the Thomas' English Muffins of your youth: White and filled with nooks and crannies practically screaming to be filled with pools of melted butter. On the other: Thomas' Hearty Grains English Muffins, which are "made with the goodness of whole grains." You reach, somewhat grudgingly, for the healthy option, since experts tell you that 50% of your grains should be whole grains.

What you don't realize is that unbleached wheat flour is the main ingredient; whole wheat flour is the third on the list, "indicating that the product contains relatively little," according to the CSPI

Foods labeled seven-grain or multigrain may seem like the healthiest choices — especially with new findings showing that a diet rich in whole grains protects against heart disease, cancer, and other ills.

The famed Nurses' Health Study documented lower rates of heart disease and stroke among whole grain eaters. Experts don't know all the reasons behind the benefits, but they do know that intact grains are rich in fiber and nutrients — including vitamin E, B vitamins, and magnesium — that are stripped away when grains are refined into flour.

Unfortunately, many foods are only posing as rich in whole grains. "Take a closer look at the labels and you may find there's not a single whole grain in them," says Cynthia Harriman, director of food and nutrition strategies for the Whole Grains Council, a nonprofit consumer group in Boston.

The reason: Labels can claim that products contain grains even if they're highly processed and stripped of most of their nutrients and all of their fiber. "White flour is made from grain, after all," says Harriman.

Smarter move

Learn the lingo of food claims. Bread that's 100 percent whole grain means just that — it contains no refined flour. Cereal that's made with whole grain may have a little or a lot. Crackers labeled multigrain may not have whole grains at all.

To be sure you're getting the grains you want, check the ingredients panel. Whole grains should be the first or second ingredient listed. Luckily, finding whole-grain products is easier now that manufacturers supplying at least 16 grams of whole grains per serving — what's considered an excellent source — are stamping their packaging with the Whole Grains Council's logo.



  1. nice, thanks for this gwen. i bought some yeast a while back and all the right flours to make my own bread but i've procrastinating it. i needed the reminder!

  2. nice, thanks for this gwen. i bought some yeast a while back and all the right flours to make my own bread but i've procrastinating it. i needed the reminder!


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