When it comes to flours, people tend to assume whole wheat flour is healthier than white flour. But are they really that different? Cup for cup, both whole wheat flour and white flour contain around 400 calories. What makes whole wheat flour different from white is the processing.
White flour goes through a process where it loses its natural nutrients. Because of this, it's oftentimes enriched with added nutrients after processing. While this is a step in the right direction, the nutrients aren't in their natural form, nor at the level, you'll find in whole wheat flour.
Whole Wheat Flour vs. White Flour
One of the main differences between whole wheat and white flour is the fiber content. Whole wheat flour naturally has the level of fiber found in wheat, while most of the fiber has been removed from white flour during processing. Fiber is an important part of your diet, as it prevents constipation, helps control blood sugar, wards off heart disease, and even assists in weight-loss management.
Whole wheat flour is also rich in vitamins B-1, B-3, and B-5, along with riboflavin and folate. It also has more iron, calcium, protein, and other nutrients than white flour. When you are eating a low-calorie diet plan, it's important that the calories you're consuming are loaded with as many nutrients as possible. Since there isn't a calorie difference, choosing the nutrient-dense flour will add to your healthy diet rather than retract from it.
Cooking With Whole Wheat Flour
You don't need to sacrifice your favorite foods in order to eat healthily. You can completely replace white flour with whole wheat flour, or just use a mix of the two in your favorite goodies. For example, use half whole wheat and half white flour to make cookies, muffins, and cakes for breakfast or dessert. Some recipes use 100 percent whole wheat and taste fantastic, like homemade bread, pasta, and noodles.
There are so many great options to use in a hearty breakfast, lunch, or dinner. For breakfast, you can make oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, and muffins with whole wheat flour. For lunch, try making pizza at home using whole wheat flour. Everything else remains the same—white or red sauce, delicious crust, and topping combinations like pesto and artichokes, sausage and cheese, and eggplant with basil. For dinner, you can opt for a delicious spinach lasagna with three different melted kinds of cheese.
Like whole wheat flour, you can replace other common foods with healthier choices. For example, using whole-grain brown rice instead of white rice is a way to have better fiber content, a lower glycemic index to manage blood sugar, and a significant amount of more nutrients like iron, zinc, and magnesium for a healthy heart.
Adding fruits, vegetables, and legumes to your whole wheat or whole grain diet will also load you up with vitamins, nutrients, and good carbs. Avoid refined grains found in pretzels, hamburger buns, and other foods. Instead, find a way to hack it at home with a better substitute.