September is National Grains Month (who comes up with these things, right?). Still, it’s a good time to rededicate yourself to making sure your child is eating enough whole grains, which can help maintain a healthy weight, lower cholesterol, and help reduce risk for conditions like type 2 diabetes. Did you know 40 percent of Americans don’t eat any whole grains at all? School age children need three ounces, or three servings, daily, says Ann Moyers, MPH, RD, of Action for Healthy Kids.
With all the great-tasting whole grain products out now, there’s really no excuse. Here are Moyers’ top tips for moving beyond mushy white bread.
1. Use whole-grain tortillas and pita pockets.
2. Eat oats—whether in granola or cooked up with milk, a great whole grain.
3. Baked tortilla chips; the corn is whole grain.
4. Whole-wheat pizza and frozen pie crusts—some taste better than regular!
5. Switch to whole-wheat pancake mix, or use buckwheat, a whole grain.
6. Use whole-grain pasta; or mix with half regular pasta as you transition.
7. Quinoa! It makes a pleasantly chewy, light substitute for rice (of course brown rice is another good whole grain, but lacks quinoa’s high protein); great for Mexican corn–black bean salads, and more.
The big rule, of course, is read all Nutrition Facts and Ingredient Panels; Buy products with a whole grain as the first ingredient.