Because we want to help kids at Sprouts build the healthiest plate they can at mealtime, we love to focus on MyPlate. Fruits and vegetables are talked about at each visit to the garden and it was time to move into whole grains as well. None of the kids had heard of the term “whole grains” before so it was time for some fun education.
A whole grain is also a super hero food giving you fiber to keep your digestive tract clean, clearing out cholesterol and helping us feel healthy. How can you tell if a grain is a whole grain?
- All grains in nature are whole grains because they contain three essential parts: the bran, the germ and the endosperm.
- When a grain is refined, it is no longer whole.
- Take a look at the label on foods to help identify whether it’s a whole grain or not. The first ingredient should be “Whole” and then naming what the grain is called. You can also look at the front of the package to look for a whole grain stamp or the words “100% whole grain”.
- Our aim each day is to make half our grains whole – which means eat three servings of whole grains each day.
To help the kids identify whether foods were whole grain or not, we played a game of “Whole Grain Detectives”. We passed around food items that were made from grain and had the kids read the labels to determine if they were whole grain. This was so successful as I had parents tell me later (they are not present at the classes) that their kids were now asking about the foods in their house and whether they are whole grain. So glad to hear that!
And another tracker to help kids and their families include more whole grains in their day.
It was a hot, hot day when we hosted the whole grain super heroes. So it was a great time to cool off with some ice cream.
But we made it in a backwards way to help the kids focus on adding healthy toppings. The kids first sliced up some fresh strawberries and added them to their bowls. Then, sprinkle 1/4 cup whole grain granola or whole grain bunny crackers into the bowl. And top that with one scoop of ice cream. It was interesting to hear the kids talk about how many scoops they wanted of ice cream before we started the recipe and they realized by building their sundaes this way, they really only needed one scoop – which is a true serving!
— Jen Haugen, RD,LD (@jenhaugen) July 17, 2013
What whole grains do you incorporate into your family meals?