Your Childs Diet

Easy tips to include more whole grains in your child’s diet

(ARA) – Parents want the best nutrition for their children, but there is often a struggle between making healthy choices and pleasing children’s palates. Whole grains are critical for maintaining children’s health, but research shows most kids are eating far less than is recommended. The good news is that there are plenty of creative ways to resolve this nutritional dilemma by incorporating whole grains into snacks and meals throughout the day.

How deprived are our children?

Young people are consuming less than one serving of whole grains per day, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming at least three or more servings of whole grain per day. A recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that children who consume the most servings of whole grains have higher nutrient intake and better diets overall.

What exactly are whole grains?

Grains are divided into two subgroups: whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel. Because whole grains haven’t been refined, they contain higher levels of dietary fiber, iron and B vitamins. Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain is a grain product. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas and grits are examples. By eating whole grain varieties of these foods, you’ll give yourself and your children better nutrition.

What are easy ways to eat whole grains every day?

1. Make it a whole grain breakfast. The morning may be the easiest time to begin integrating whole grains into your family’s diets because many breakfast foods are available in whole grain options. Choose ready-to-eat breakfast cereals containing whole grains, including whole wheat cereal flakes, muesli and rolled oats. Choose whole grain bread for satisfying and tasty morning toast. Tip for parents of picky eaters: If your kids want a bit more sweetness with their whole grain breakfast, offer dried fruits to add to cereal and real fruit jam as a topping on toast.

2. Read labels. Foods labeled multi-grain, stone-ground, 100 percent wheat, cracked wheat, seven-grain or bran may not contain any whole grain. Tip for reading food labels: Check the label for fiber content. A product containing 10 to 19 percent of the daily recommended value of fiber is a good source of whole grains.

3. Stock whole grain snacks. Choose snacks that contain whole grains, such as Lance Whole Grain Peanut Butter or Cheese Sandwich Crackers, which contain more than 8 grams of whole grain per serving and offer 12 percent of the recommended daily value of fiber. Visit to learn more. Tip for choosing sensible snacks: Look for products that contain zero grams trans fat, no preservatives and no high fructose corn syrup, such as Lance Sandwich Crackers.

4. Add whole grains to your dinner plate with a side dish. Don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun – add vegetables and seasoning to brown rice, quinoa or whole grain couscous for a tasty alternative to potato or pasta salad. The colorful creations make eating whole grain side dishes fun for kids of all ages. Tip for busy parents: Cook up extra rice, bulgur or barley when you have time and freeze it for use later as a quick side dish.

5. Set a good example. Say goodbye to the old food pyramid as the new diet recommendations from the USDA follow a circular icon known as MyPlate. Part of this change includes the recommendation that half of all the grains we eat should be whole grain. Kids will follow your lead; make sure that you eat whole grains often as part of your meals and snacks. Plus, research shows people who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases – so mom and dad can live healthier as well. Tip for learning more about MyPlate: If you’re still unsure about the new USDA MyPlate guidelines,visit for tips and tools.

Eating whole grains benefits everyone’s diet, and with these tips, you can easily integrate whole grains into your family’s snacks and meals while enjoying delicious and healthy results.
NJ Doctors