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“Made with whole grains”

“Contains whole grains”

“Multi-grain”

“100% Wheat”

“Stone Ground”

“Cracked Wheat”

“Bran”

Which of these foods contain whole grains?  Probably none of them. Finding true whole grain foods can be a little tricky, but here are 3 secrets to being pretty sure you are getting a whole grain. Even if not 100%, at least you will be moving in the right direction!

153693320Look for the Whole Grains Stamp. The 100% whole grain stamp means the food is a whole grain. The Basic Stamp means that there is at least 1/2 serving of whole grains in the food-a good way to start “Making Half Your Grains Whole.”

Basic&100%WholeGrainStamp

153693320

Check the package label.  The key is to look for “100% Whole Wheat” or other whole grain.

100% whole wheat bread

153693320Check the list of the ingredients. If the first ingredient listed contains the word “whole” follow by a grain, it is likely this food is high in whole grains. WholeGrainIngredient

All that being said, it is also pretty easy and also most cost effective to stick with the basics: oatmeal, brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread and bread products, whole wheat tortillas, plain toasted oats cereal, and shredded wheat cereal. Not always very exciting, but isn’t your life exciting enough?!

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Your kids depend on you to give them the very best! Here are some tips to help you meet their expectations:

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  • Aim for 3 servings of whole grains per day or make half your grains whole grains. This is for the most health benefits. But even small changes add up to make a difference over time!
  • Start small and build.  Replace a refined grain with one of these whole grains:
    • Oatmeal
    • Brown Rice
    • Whole Wheat Noodles
    • 100% Whole Wheat bread, buns, pitas and tortillas
    • Whole Grain Ready-to-Eat (cold) Cereal like toasted O’s, shredded wheat or wheat flakes
  • It can take some time to get used to the heartier flavor and chewier texture of whole grains. But you can do it! Stick with it! Your kids are looking to you to do the right thing. Just think of how proud you will feel when you are successful.
  • When you offer your child whole grains, they will know that you care about them enough to give them the very best nutrition!
  • You will feel good knowing you are nourishing them for life and setting them up for success by serving them a healthy whole grain!
  • You can rest assured that you are providing a complete, whole food filled with fiber and nutrients that help them feel full longer and fuel them for their day!

XO Sandwich

February is American Heart Month and when we celebrate Valentine’s Day. So all this month we will be highlighting Hearty Whole Grains-More Love in Every Bite.  Look for new posts every day.

Hearty Whole Grains: More Love in Every Bite

In the meantime, visit these websites to get more tips about finding and serving more love in every bite:

MyPlate Make Half Your Grains Whole

Whole Grains Council

We are seeing a lot of green around town this time of year–evergreen trees, wreaths and swags!  But don’t forget the dark green vegetables during the holiday season:  spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, and collard greens to name a few!

Last school year, kids at Madison, Garfield, Lydia Hawk and Pleasant Glade elementary schools were eating up Monster Smoothies made with kale and a Tofu Scramble with spinach leaves!  The fall 2012  issue of Chop Chop magazine has a peanutty Cold Spinach Salad.  If your family can’t eat peanuts due to allergies you can try substituting sunflower butter for the peanut butter.

Have you tried any of these recipes at home?  How did it work out?

Sometimes the more nutritious red, orange and dark green leafy vegetables ARE more expensive than other vegetables. But won’t you feel proud when you save money AND do your child a favor by savoring the flavor of seasonal vegetables?!  Smart parents like you know that buying vegetables in season equals maximum flavor at minimum cost! 

Winter is a great time to get good deals on winter squashes-acorn, butternut and hubbard to name a few!  The Fruits and Veggies-More Matters website has short (less than a minute!) videos about:

  • *The difference between summer and winter squash
  • *Different types of winter squashes (who knew there were so many choices!)
  • *Selecting, cutting and peeling winter squash

We love the Fruits and Veggies-More Matters website for getting squash recipes like Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash, South of the Border Squash Soup, and Black Beans and Butternut.  Fancy names for some fairly simple recipes!

 

Students at Lydia Hawk, Garfield, Madison and Pleasant Glade Elementary are taking “The Pledge to Eat More Very Special Veggies!”  starting December 1st!  Students that choose to participate are bringing home this calendar to put on the refrigerator to track their progress:

Very Special Veg Challenge

 They are also bringing home a “Very Special Vegetables Home Treasure Hunt:”

Very Special Veg Treasure Hung

Want to know more?  Here are some questions you might ask your child based on their Food $ense lesson!

  • What are the X-Ray vision vegetables?
  • What are the Protein Powerhouse vegetables?
  • How do you think you will feel when you eat more of these vegetables?
  • What recipe in the Fall Chop, Chop magazine that uses at least one of these vegetables do you want to try?