Do your grain food choices make the grade?Children in schools will be having more whole-grain options available in school lunch programs nationwide. Whole grains are healthier options for all of us.
By: Luella Morehouse, NDSU extension, The Jamestown Sun
Children in schools will be having more whole-grain options available in school lunch programs nationwide. Whole grains are healthier options for all of us.
Making at least half of our grain food choices whole grains adds up to better nutrition. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel: the bran, germ and endosperm. People who eat whole grains as part of a healthful diet can reduce their risk of chronic disease such as heart disease and cancer.
True or False: Foods labeled “multigrain,” “stone ground,” “100 percent wheat” or “seven-grain” may not contain any whole grain.
True or False: Brown rice and whole-wheat pasta are examples of whole-grain foods.
True or False: Grain food that is brown is not necessarily a whole-grain food.
True or False: You can increase the fiber content in recipes by substituting brown rice or whole-wheat macaroni for white rice and regular pasta.
All these answers are true. You can’t tell if food is whole grain by its color. Read the ingredient list and choose products that name a whole-grain ingredient first on the list. Some whole-grain food packages also carry health claims.
Try These Tips to Make Half Your Grains Whole:
* Enjoy popcorn (always a whole grain!) as a snack, but make it with little or no added salt or butter.
* Try 100 percent whole-wheat crackers as a snack.
* Have whole-wheat buns, tortillas or bread as the base of your sandwiches.
* Get the most nutrition for your money. Compare the fiber, sugar and other nutrition information on cereal boxes.
* Be a good role model for children by serving and eating whole grains every day with meals or snacks.
Question: I heard that changes are being made to school menus. What should I know?
Yes, school menus are changing to make them more healthful, and most schools have begun implementing those changes. For example, half of all grains on the menu must be rich in whole grains. A wider range of vegetables will be offered. Students will be required to have 1/2 cup of fruit or vegetables on their tray for it to count as a full meal. The amount of food offered will be based on three different age groups.
In time, overall menus will be lower in sodium. Encourage the children you know to try new foods at school and at home. Consider joining your child for a meal at school. Be sure to check in with your child’s school for more information.
Make Time for Breakfast
Some family routines may have changed, now that school is in session. If you’re in a rush, don’t skip the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast helps children and adults concentrate better, which improves school and work performance. Kids and adults who eat breakfast are less likely to overeat later in the day, which can help with weight management.
Excerpted from “http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise/newsletters.htm.” For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, FNP Education Assistant, NDSU Extension Service Stutsman County, 116 1/2 First St. East, Jamestown, ND, 701-252-9030 or luella.morehouse@ ndsu.edu.