This article is about the answer to a question many have asked. It’s not just a “yes” or “no”.
Wheat can be classified as both a vegetable and a grain. It depends on how you categorize it, but for this post, let’s turn to the dictionary for an answer.
Merriam-Webster defines wheat as “a plant cultivated widely in temperate zones that are eaten as cereal grain”. This definition sounds like it fits more in the vegetable category than the grain category, but what one says is sometimes influenced by regional differences among languages. Is wheat a thing that people eat or something they grow?
What is Wheat?
Wheat (Triticum spp.) originates from the Mediterranean and was once considered a weed. Its seeds are used to produce cereal grain that’s eaten by humans, and its stalks and ears are used to produce hay for livestock. The leaves are also edible, so they can be fed to livestock if necessary.
The seed part of the wheat grain is made up of an embryo (which bears a resemblance to a tiny plant) encased in a scutiform shaped hull or bran. This bran may be removed and the remaining germ crushed into a meal, ground into flour, or polished off into white flour. Both methods take away nutrients as well as fiber.
Is wheat a fruit or vegetable?
Wheat is the seed of the flowering grass plant. Due to its origins, it’s considered a grain rather than a fruit or vegetable.
What is wheat used for?
Because of its high starch content, wheat is ground into flour and used to produce a variety of foods including bread, pasta, cakes, breakfast cereals, and cookies.
Wheat is also used to produce fodder for livestock. They need protein and carbohydrates in order to live. And humans need about 25 grams of fiber each day for good digestive health. During the refining process, most of the fiber is removed so we are left with mostly carbohydrate-rich flour or starch.
What’s left after refining can then be used as cattle feed because it’s low in fiber plus it contains gluten or wheat protein that helps digest feeds quickly.
What foods contain wheat?
We know that wheat or grain is used to make bread, pasta, and other food products, but those are not the only foods that contain wheat. Eaten whole or not, there are many hidden sources of wheat that many people don’t know about. They may be surprised to learn that wheat can be found in these foods:
Candy usually contains gluten (flour) or corn syrup, which contains modified starches. It may have traces of wheat flour due to cross-contamination. The Celiac Disease Foundation advises people with Celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity to avoid them. Candy manufacturers may switch to less expensive ingredients that contain flour if they run low on stock or ingredients.
They’re a popular breakfast choice for many people, but cereals can be another form of gluten. Gluten itself is a mixture of the proteins found in wheat and in some cases barley. Cereals are made from grains like wheat that have been ground into a coarse meal.
That means it may still contain traces of gluten even if the manufacturer claims it’s 100 percent wheat-free cereal. Cereal may contain hidden sources of gluten in the form of whole-grain oats or other grains such as rye, barley, and triticale, which are all types of wheat. A person with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should check the ingredients list for any of these grains to avoid them.
Again, a lot of people don’t know that condiments such as mustard and barbecue sauce can contain traces of wheat. They may be labeled gluten free, but they may still have traces of it. Look out for any hidden sources of flour in these condiments by checking the ingredients list for words such as wheat, barley, spelt or rye.
Gravies and Sauces
Same as condiments, even if your gravy or sauce is labeled gluten free it may still include modified starches which are made from corn, rice, or tapioca (cassava). Again, you will need to check the ingredients list and avoid foods that contain words such as wheat, barley, spelt, or rye.
Ground Meats / Patties
Some ground meats contain gluten in the form of bread crumbs or filler. It can be hard to tell if the meat you are consuming contains gluten because it is not listed on the ingredients label.
You should ask your butcher if they use bread crumbs or filler when making ground meats for you. Also, be sure to check for any hidden sources of gluten in this product by looking out for words such as wheat, barley, spelt or rye on the ingredients list.
Are grains a vegetable?
This depends on your definition of “vegetable.” If you define vegetables to be plants that are edible and provide a source of nutrition, then grains would be considered a vegetable. However, if you consider them to be something that is meant to be eaten as part of a main course (like pasta), they would not.
Difference between a Grain and a Vegetable
Grain is the seed of a grass. Vegetables are any edible part or part of an edible plant.
is wheat a plant? Yes, wheat is a plant that is grown for food. Parts of a wheat plant? Wheat has an edible seed and an inedible seed cover. The stalks and leaves are also inedible.
Amelia is a plant and nature lover! Ever since she was little, she loved spending time in her family’s garden and learning about how to care for each plant individually. As an adult, she has dedicated herself to sharing what she has learned and continuing to expand her knowledge on the plant kingdom.