The Whole Grains Council is plenty busy this month as they promote Whole Grains Month by featuring two special programs. First, the WG Council is collecting stories about what you're doing to spread the word about the goodness of whole grains to friends and family. Submit a story, receive a coupon, and be entered to win the grand prize- the Whole Grain Gift Basket. The next big project for the WG Council this month is to get as many Boston restaurants as possible to serve whole grains in September. The Whole Grains Council provides tips for consumers to jump on the whole grains bandwagon as well...check them out here.

Now for my own plug to include whole grains in your diet, let's briefly review the nutrition. Whole grains provide:

Fiber-helps to fill you up, without filling you out. Whole grain products satiate hunger more so than their refined counterparts.

B vitamins-think energy and memory. You'll find everything from folate to B12 in whole grain bread, crackers, cereals and more.

Minerals too-iron, magnesium, and selenium to name a few.

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (due for an update very soon) recommend that adults eat at least half their grains as whole grains, which translates to 3-5 servings per day. Think of this recommendation as a minimum because more whole grains are never a bad thing. The benefits whole grains provide far outweigh the nutrition facts of refined grains. If nearly all of your grains can come from whole grains, then you are doing great things for your body.

So how do you know whether or not a food is whole grain?

Look for the Whole Grains Stamp shown below from the Whole Grains Council. There are two stamps making it easy for shoppers to identify products offering at least a half serving of whole grains. The Basic Stamp indicates a product has at least 8 grams of whole grain, but may also contain some refined grain. The 100 percent stamp is the consumer's shortcut to recognizing products with all of its grain ingredients as whole grains. There are no refined grains in products bearing the 100 percent stamp and at least 16 grams of whole grain per serving.

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of www.Skinnyandthecity.com. She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto www.FFactorDiet.com.