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Whole Grains = Fiber

Whole-grain foods have the nutrient-packed bran, or fiber, parts of the plant. Fiber promotes regularity by moving food through the digestive tract and makes you feel full, so you are less likely to overeat. Whole grains also contain protective substances that may help prevent heart disease.

Reading Labels: Find the Whole Grain

Look for these whole grains as the first entry on a food label's ingredient list:

Brown Rice

Graham Flour

Oatmeal

Popcorn

Whole Corn

Whole Rye

Whole Wheat

Whole Barley

Refined vs. Whole Grain

Refined grains have the bran removed. Enriched flour and wheat flour, for example, are not whole grain. While refined grains are fortified with B vitamins and minerals, they are not a source of fiber.

Eating a variety of grain foods each day will help ensure that young children get important nutrients for growth, energy, and lifelong good health. To encourage children to eat more whole grains, check the box at right for easy substitutions.

Choose a Variety of Grains Daily

All grain foods - such as breads, cereals, pasta, and rice - are nutritious choices and should be a part of every meal. Experts recommend that children and adults aim for two or three whole-grain products each day, along with other refined grain foods.

The list below features the amount in one serving of basic grain foods, as determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Use the portion sizes for guidance only. Offer a young child a serving that you know he can successfully eat, or let the child choose the portion size, even if it is just a small cracker. Remember that day to day, young children's appetites will vary. If they have enough energy to play and grow, they are probably getting enough food. Offer healthful food choices and children will be sure to choose nutritious foods.

1 slice of bread

cup cooked rice or pasta

cup cooked cereal

1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal

For more information on how the Grain Group fits into a young child's overall diet, refer to the USDA MyPlate for Young Children.

Instead of

Substitute

Serving Idea


White bread

100% whole-wheat, rye, or other breads

Toasted with all-fruit spread


Plain English muffin

Whole-wheat or rye English muffin

Mini-pizza with tomato sauce and cheese


Refined grain breakfast cereal

Whole grain breakfast cereals

Refined and whole grain cereals mixed together; hot oatmeal with raisins


White crackers

Whole-wheat, rye and graham crackers

Whole-wheat and rye crackers with cheese and grapes; graham crackers with milk


Flour tortillas

Corn tortillas or taco shells

Filled with refried beans and topped with melted cheese