Each month we are going to focus on a section of "My Plate"
This month we will focus on Grains...
According to the CDC website:
Diet and Academic Performance
- Grains - Make half your grains whole grains: popcorn is a whole grain! Pop a bag of low-fat or fat-free popcorn for a healthier snack.
- Whole grain pasta is great in baked dishes or pasta salad. If you choose refined grain pasta, make sure it's enriched by checking the ingredient list.
- Ready-to-eat, wholegrain cereal is a tasty breakfast option or can be enjoyed as a whole grain snack.
What foods are in the Grains Group?
Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain is a grain product. Bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, grits, and tortillas are examples of grain products. Foods such as popcorn, rice, and oatmeal are also included in the Grains Group.
Grains are divided into 2 subgroups: Whole Grains and Refined Grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel ― the bran, germ, and endosperm. Examples of whole grains include whole-wheat flour, bulgur (cracked wheat), oatmeal, whole cornmeal, and brown rice. Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. This is done to give grains a finer texture and improve their shelf life, but it also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins. Some examples of refined grain products are white flour, de-germed cornmeal, white bread, and white rice.
Most refined grains are enriched. This means certain B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid) and iron are added back after processing. Fiber is not added back to enriched grains. Check the ingredient list on refined grain products to make sure that the word "enriched" is included in the grain name. Some food products are made from mixtures of whole grains and refined grains.
How many grain foods are needed daily?
The amount of grain foods you need to eat depends on your age, sex, and level of physical activity. The amount each person needs can vary between 3 and 8 ounce-equivalents each day -- at least half of the grains you eat should be whole grains. Those who are very physically active may need more. Recommended daily amounts are listed in the table below. Most Americans consume enough grains, but few are whole grains.
*These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity, beyond normal daily activities. Those who are more physically active may be able to consume more while staying within calorie needs.
What counts as an ounce-equivalent (oz-equiv) of grains?
In general, 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal can be considered as 1 ounce-equivalent from the Grains Group. The table below lists specific amounts that count as 1 ounce-equivalent of grains towards your daily recommended intake. In some cases the number of ounce-equivalents for common portions are also shown.