Fresh Choices!  Changing for the Better Header

Whole Grains

Frequently Asked Questions



What are some recipes that use whole grains?

  • Bread - Use whole wheat or whole grain bread in these recipes:
  • Tortillas - Use whole wheat or whole grain tortillas in these recipes:
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice - Try brown rice in these recipes:

Back to Top


What is a whole grain?

Whole grains are just that – whole! Whole grains are the entire seed of a plant. The seed includes: the bran, the germ and endosperm. Nothing has been added or taken away. When whole grains are processed, the bran and germ are removed along with some of the fiber, protein and other important nutrients. A processed grain is called a refined grain. Bi-section of whole grain showing bran, endosperm and germ

Back to Top


Which foods are whole grain?

Here are some examples of whole grains (items with * are available from WIC):

  • Brown rice*
  • Barley and bulgur
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Whole cornmeal
  • Whole grain oats, oatmeal*
  • Whole grain bread*
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Whole grain tortillas*
NOTE: Some WIC cereals are also whole-grain.

Back to Top


What nutrients do whole grains provide?

Whole grains are a good source of B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron and fiber.

Back to Top


What are the health benefits from eating whole grains?

Whole grains help:

  • Protect against many types of cancer and other diseases.
  • Decrease heart disease
  • Control weight
  • Keep bowel habits regular

Back to Top


How many whole grains do women and children need?

At least half of the grains you eat should be whole grains. The specific amount of whole grains that you need depends on your age and level of physical activity. The following are general guidelines:

  • Children (1-4 years old) need daily: 3-4 ounces of grains a day (half should be whole grains)
  • Women need daily: 6-11 ounces of grains a day (half would be whole grains
  • 1 ounce of grains equals:
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup cooked pasta
  • 1/2 cup cooked cereal

Back to Top


How do you identify whether a food is made from whole grains or refined grains?

For more information on how to identify whole grain products, go to: http://www.wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/identifying-whole-grain-products

Back to Top


How can I add more whole grains to my day?

Here are some easy ways to add whole grains:

  • Make sandwiches with whole wheat bread instead of white bread. Use the whole grain bread available from WIC. If you purchase other breads, look for 100% whole wheat or 100% whole grain on the package label.
  • Add brown rice to a casserole or soup in place of white rice. Regular brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice so add extra time for cooking. Instant and quick cooking brown rice are also available from WIC and cook up quickly.
  • Choose whole grain pasta. The taste of whole grain pasta is different from refined grain pasta. Add a tomato flavored sauce, such as marinara sauce to help adjust to the different flavor of the whole grain pasta.
  • Use corn or whole grain tortillas in place of flour tortillas.
  • Jazz up cooked oatmeal with chopped nuts, dried fruit and a dash of cinnamon.
  • Choose whole grain crackers for snacks. Make sure the label says whole grain. Foods labeled with words "multi-grain", "stone-ground", "cracked wheat", "seven grain", or "bran" are usually not whole-grain products.

Back to Top