What Is a Whole Grain?

school lunch box

Whole grains contain three parts: the bran, the germ and the endosperm (refined grains only contain the endosperm). The bran and germ help keep your body healthy, your skin glowing and your hair shiny. Including whole grains as part of a healthy diet has been shown to help reduce cardiovascular disease, lower body weight and reduce incidence of diabetes. Some whole grains are barley, quinoa, oats, brown rice, or whole-grain pastas, breads and cereals. Make sure to check the ingredient list for "whole grain." To make white flour for baked goods, nutrient-rich parts of the grain – bran and germ – are removed.

Next time your kids want a snack, look to whole-grain snacks. They are not only nutritious but delicious! Here are two options: a whole-grain pita pocket stuffed with ricotta cheese and Granny Smith apple slices with a dash of cinnamon. Or, if you want something for your kids to eat on the run, mix together ready-to-eat whole-grain cereal, dried fruit and nuts in a sandwich bag for an on-the-go snack.

Did you know that in the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, all grain-based products offered in your child's school must be whole grain-rich? The food must meet at least one of the following:

  • Whole grains per serving must be at least 8 grams or more.
  • The product must include the FDA-approved whole-grain health claim on its packaging.
  • The product ingredient list must state whole grains first.

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