Most of us have some idea that brown bread, pasta and rice are healthier than sticking to the more popular white counterparts. But when we’re faced with that choice in the supermarket, many of us still tend to chuck the refined white options in our shopping trolleys.

The result is that the majority of us are not eating anyway near enough wholegrains, and this is a bad thing for several reasons. For those reasons, plus advice on how to get more wholegrains into your life, we spoke to dietitian Chloe Miles of the British Dietetic Association.

Once you’ve been suitably convinced of the greatness of wholegrains, read on for a recipe rich in them.

What are wholegrains?

Wholegrain means that all three elements of the grain are present. It’s not stripped of things like the fibre-rich outer layer, the inner part and the starchy part. Refined grains like white bread don’t contain all of these three parts.

Why are they so good for us?

Wholegrains can contain up to 75% more nutrients than refined cereals. They contain fibre and B vitamins, as well as other nutrients. They can reduce our risk of some forms of cancer such as bowel cancer, and keep our digestive system healthy generally.

What are the best foods?

Good ones are wholegrain breakfast cereals, wholemeal flours – use those in baking – and things like brown rice or quinoa for salads. For snacks, oatcakes or wholegrain cereal bars. You could have chilli but with brown rice, and use wholewheat pasta instead of white pasta. You can make toppings for fruit crumbles with wholemeal flours and oats – there’s a double wholegrain whammy there.

Do we eat enough of them in the UK?

Approximately 95% of adults don’t eat enough of them, and one in three of us don’t eat any at all. There isn’t really any strict guidance on how much we should be eating in this country but other countries recommend three portions daily.

Should you cut out refined grains entirely?

They’re not completely bad for you. They obviously do have some nutrients in them and they are important in your diet if you don’t like the wholegrain variety. But I’d always say opt for the wholegrain if you can.

There’s a lot of hype around “ancient” grains like amaranth and teff. Are they especially good for us?

Generally I’d just say include whatever wholegrains are easiest for you. Acient grains don’t have any “super” quality as such. If they’re expensive and not that convenient, I’d say stick to your standard wholegrain rice, wholegrain pasta and things that are easy to get your hands on.

Autumn Grain Bowl Recipe


  • 80g cooked weight brown rice
  • Handful of spinach
  • Half an avocado
  • 50g cooked edamame
  • 50g carrot
  • 50g roasted mushrooms
  • 15g spring onions
  • 2-3 stalks coriander
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

For the dressing

  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chopped red chilli
  • 1 tsp maple syrup 


Prep all the ingredients and mix in a bowl. Prepare the dressing, mix in with the salad and serve.

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