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5 wholegrains you should be eating

Carbs always seem to get a bad reputation, but not all carbs are the enemy. Especially not wholegrains. Here are five you should be eating as part of a healthy diet.

One small thing: Quinoa is a really easy-to-prepare wholegrain. Mix with beans for a tasty side dish or add to a stir-fry.

Wholegrains are high in fibre and provide B vitamins, vitamin E, minerals, healthy fats and antioxidants. Research shows that people who eat more wholegrains hyperlink to> tend to have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, diabetes, cancer and digestive disorders.

At least half of the grains you eat should be wholegrains – here are six to add to your shopping list.

1. Oats

The soluble fibre found in oats helps improve blood cholesterol and control blood sugar levels. There are different types of oats available – from the least processed (for example steel-cut oats) to the most processed (for example instant oats). The less processing the oat grain goes through, the more health benefits it has. Eat more: Eat oats porridge for breakfast, add oat bran to crumpets and muffins, or add oats as a binding ingredient when you make beef-burger patties. Baking with oat bran and oat flour is another great way to get more oats into your diet.

2. Barley

Barley has a slightly nutty taste and chewy texture. It’s rich in soluble fibre, which can help lower blood cholesterol and control blood glucose levels. It also contains insoluble fibre, which helps keep you regular. Barley provides a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and is low in fat, sodium and sugar.

You’ll find a few different varieties of barley. Wholegrain barley has all three parts of the grain kernel, which means it’s higher in fibre and has more vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients than refined grains. Pot or scotch barley, while somewhat processed, is still considered a wholegrain. Because it has been polished, it tends to cook a bit quicker. Pearl barley has been polished one step further than pot barley and no longer has the bran layer, which means it’s not a wholegrain. Eat more: Add barley to soups or use it to make a hot breakfast cereal. Make a tasty side dish by adding the following to cooked barley:

  • Slivered almonds and chopped dried apricots
  • Lemon zest, grated Parmesan cheese, chopped sautéed kale
  • Sliced cooked mushrooms and chopped parsley
3. Quinoa

Quinoa is a nutritious, tiny seed with a nutty taste. This gluten-free wholegrain is a great source of fibre, and is higher in protein and iron than most grains. Quinoa, unlike other plant proteins, it’s a “complete protein”, which means it provides all the building blocks we need to make protein. Although not high in protein compared with protein-rich foods like chickpeas or lentils , quinoa still contributes to the protein needs of vegetarians. Eat more: Quinoa is easy to make and so versatile. Mix it with beans or nuts for a tasty side dish, or use it as a base for a salad meal. Try adding a protein, such as lean meat, skinless chicken, low-sodium canned beans, salmon or tofu, and vegetables to quinoa, mix in a little oil and vinegar dressing, top with grated low-fat cheese or low-sodium feta, toasted nuts or seeds, dried cranberries or raisins.

4. Brown rice

Brown rice has more protein, fibre, calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium and phytochemicals (these are the healthy compounds found in plants) than the more refined white rice. Eat more: Make a tasty side dish using fresh cooked veggies and brown rice tossed with a little olive oil. Want an easy, healthy lunch to go? Mix brown rice with lentils, chopped parsley, diced veggies, a little olive oil, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

5. Wholewheat pasta

Like brown rice, wholewheat pasta is made from the entire wheat grain and is full of vitamins, minerals and fibre. In fact, wholegrain spaghetti has 2.5 times more fibre than regular spaghetti. Wholewheat pasta will also help keep you feeling fuller for longer. Eat more: Wholewheat pasta has a more complex taste than white pasta, which means it pairs really well with bold flavours. Make a delicious pasta sauce with olive oil, chilli and garlic.

Read food labels carefully

It’s important to choose foods that contains the whole grain. Here’s what you should know:

  • • Make sure that wholegrain is among the first few ingredients listed.
  • • Check that there is at least 2-3g of fibre per serving.
  • • Avoid products that use words such as enriched, white, and all-purpose. For example, enriched flour, white flour, enriched wheat, enriched bleached flour and all-purpose flour.
  • • Instead, look for products that include whole, rolled, stone-ground, sprouted and cracked. For example, wholegrain flour, rolled oats, wholewheat flour and cracked bulgur.

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