Date: May 21, 2018

Get the Whole Story On Whole Grains

What are whole grains? Examples are whole wheat bread, whole oats, brown rice, cracked (bulgur) wheat, and cornmeal.

This month your child will explore the world of whole grains through arts and crafts, taste testing, and other activities.

We’ll be teaching these key messages:

  • Whole grains are important because they help you feel full longer and make your body healthy.
  • Eat whole grains (like whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat crackers and brown rice) instead of refined grains (like white bread, muffins, pasta, and white rice) whenever possible.
  • Breakfast is a great time to try whole grains. Try whole grain cereals, waffles, bread, or bagels.

Whole grains contain fiber, vitamin E, and healthy fats. Whole grains help keep your blood sugar under control, arteries clear, and they also make you feel full longer. Eating a diet rich in whole grains can lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes. While these diseases are mostly seen in adults, they are becoming more common in children too. Refined grains (like white bread, white rice, and pasta) not have the nutrients or health benefits of whole grains. Eat whole grain products instead of refined ones whenever possible!

Tips For Success

When shopping for grains for your family, purchase foods made from whole grains. There are many whole grain options available for the same price as refined options, like whole wheat bread, whole wheat pitas, whole grain crackers, whole grain cereals, and whole wheat tortillas. Select whole grain foods by looking for key words on the food labels and ingredient list.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Read the nutrition label. Choose 100% whole grain or whole wheat breads and cereals that have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving and no more than 5 grams of sugar per serving.
  • Read the ingredient list. Choose breads and cereals that list a whole grain first. Examples are whole wheat, barley, oats, rye, brown rice, whole cornmeal, and millet.
  • Watch out for misleading terms. Foods that are “multigrain,” “100% wheat,” “made with whole grains,” and “seven grain,” often are not made with mostly whole grains. Check the ingredient list to make sure that a whole grain is listed first!
  • Watch out for added sugar. There is a lot of sugar hiding in breakfast cereals, flavored yogurt, cookies, breakfast bars and other packaged foods. Choose foods and drinks without sugar as one of the first three ingredients. Remember sugar comes in different forms: corn syrup, dextrose, fructose… they are all just sugar!

Key Messages

  • Whole grain breads and cereals help you feel full longer, and are packed with fiber and other nutrients.
  • Refined grains (white bread, muffins, pasta, and white rice) aren’t as nutritious as whole grains (whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice).
  • Serve whole grain breads and cereals that have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving and no more than 5 grams of sugar per serving whenever possible.