Whole grains are nutrient powerhouses that provide over 26 nutrients essential to support a child’s growth, brain function and immunity; but few Aussie kids eat enough.
Many of the foods that kids love can be changed up to be great source of whole grains, just by making some simple swaps to the ingredients you already use.
What is a whole grain?
The term ‘whole grain’ is used to describe an intact grain where the food contains all three parts of the grain:
- The bran
- The germ
- The endosperm.
Common whole grains
- Porridge oats
- Brown, red or black rice
- Cracked wheat
- Wholemeal and whole grain breads
- Whole grain breakfast cereals
- Wheat or oat flake breakfast biscuits
- Whole grain crispbreads
- Wholemeal pasta
What are the benefits of eating whole grains?
Whole grains naturally contain important nutrients that support growth and development, including:
- Protein for muscle development
- Carbohydrates and B vitamins to help maintain energy levels
- Iron and zinc for immunity
- Calcium for strong bones and teeth
- Fibre to maintain gut health.
How much is recommended?
The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend children aged 4-8 years enjoy 4 serves of grain foods each day, consuming mostly whole grain options.
One serve of grain (cereal) food equates to:
- 1 slice of whole grain or wholemeal bread
- 1/2 cup of cooked oats
- 2/3 cup of whole grain cereal
- 1/2 cup of cooked whole grains like brown rice or wholemeal pasta
- 3 whole grain crispbreads.
Try the simple swap
Enjoying more whole grains is certainly not about a whole new way of cooking and it doesn’t mean having to find a whole range of new recipes. They can easily be incorporated into the tuckshop menu by making simple swaps:
- Swap white bread for wholemeal or whole grain varieties. Make wholemeal your default bread!
- Replace white flour in baking with wholemeal wheat flour. If you are worried about ruining the recipe, try replacing just half of the flour at first.
- Trade regular white rice and pasta for brown/wholemeal varieties. A small amount of red or black rice mixed through can add variety and colour.
- Plain popcorn, whole grain crackers with cheese, whole grain, untoasted muesli with yoghurt, and whole grain corn and rice thins with topping are great snack options.