Whole grain macaroni is a type of pasta made using whole grain flour in place of traditional white flour. It consists of short, cylindrical noodles that are hollow inside, and formed into bite-sized pieces. Unlike standard macaroni products, whole grain macaroni is tan or brown in color, and is made using grains that have not been stripped of their many natural layers. Like other whole grain foods, this product provides numerous health benefits when consumed as part of a healthy diet.
Wheat flour is one of the most common ingredients in whole grain macaroni. Other varieties can be manufactured using brown rice flour, spelt, semolina, or some combination of these whole grains. Only products marked "100 percent whole grain" are made from grains that have not been repeatedly processed and refined. Others may indicate the percentage of whole grains they contain compared to traditional white flour, while some may require customers to examine the list of ingredients to determine grain content.
Whole grain macaroni can be used almost anywhere that regular macaroni is used. Macaroni and cheese dishes are one of the most popular uses for this pasta. Some users may substitute whole grain macaroni for white pasta in their favorite recipes, or mix both white and whole grain pasta to balance nutrition and taste. This pasta product can also be used to make casseroles or cold salads. Some pre-packaged mixes and ready-made meals may also be prepared using whole grain macaroni, particularly those found in health food stores.
The primary advantage associated with whole grain products is that they contain a greater concentration of vitamins and minerals than foods made from white flour. Whole grain macaroni will not lead to blood sugar spikes like traditional pasta, making it a healthier option for diabetics. It is also rich in fiber, which may aid in digestion and heart health. Some people may also enjoy the nutty flavor and slightly tougher texture of whole wheat pasta.
Despite its many health advantages, whole grain macaroni sales still lag far behind those of macaroni made from white flour. This may be due in part to the higher cost of whole grain products, or simply to an unwillingness of shoppers to try new foods. Some diners find the texture or flavor of whole grain products unappealing, while others are concerned about their shorter shelf life compared to standard pasta products. Shoppers may also have trouble locating this whole grain macaroni in stores, and many are unwilling to make special trips to health food or specialty stores to purchase this product.