Whole grain foods like oats, whole wheat, brown rice, whole rye and barley are great foods to satisfy your hunger and provide energy to help our bodies move, work and think. They also contain fibre and many vitamins and minerals essential for good health.
What exactly is a whole grain? Whole grains contain all three parts of the grain kernel - the bran, the germ and the endosperm. Look for the word "whole" on the ingredient list.
DID YOU KNOW? The Health Check symbol on packaged foods indicates that the nutritional value of the food has been evaluated and meets a set of nutrient criteria set by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. It's still a good idea to check the Nutrition Facts table and compare with other brands to be sure you are getting the best price for similar nutritional value.
Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide recommends 6-8 servings per day for adults and 3-7 servings for children and teens. At least half of these servings should be whole grain.
What is a Serving?
- 1 slice of bread
175 mL (3/4 cup) hot cereal
- ½ bagel
- 30 g cold cereal
- ½ pita or tortilla
- 125 mL (1/2 cup) cooked pasta or couscous
- ½ cup cooked rice, bulgur or quinoa
Quick Ways to Include More Whole Grains in Family Meals and Snacks
Whole grains have a delicious, slightly nutty taste. They are affordable and easy to prepare.
- A bowl of dry whole grain cereal (such as bran flakes) or cooked cereal (such as oatmeal) in the morning. Top with some berries, or other fruit, for added fibre and nutrients.
- Bite size whole grain cereal packed in a plastic bag for a quick snack
- Whole grain cereal bar
- 100% whole wheat bread, rolls, tortillas, bagels or pita pockets
- Small muffins made with bran, whole grain or cornmeal
- Tabbouleh made with bulgur (cracked wheat)
- Air-popped popcorn without added butter and salt - experiment with other seasonings and herbs for new flavour sensations.
- Low fat wheat crackers, baked tortilla chips and brown rice cakes
SODIUM MATTERS IN THE BAKERY SECTION
- Enjoy sodium-free whole grains such as brown rice, barley, and quinoa.
- Foods high in sodium don’t necessarily taste salty - check the Nutrition Facts table for the Percent Daily Value (%DV) and choose bread and cereals lowest in sodium.
- Always check the serving size when comparing the sodium content between different brands of similar products.
- Cook rice, pasta, barley and hot cereals in unsalted water.
- Toaster waffles, French toast and pastries are surprisingly high in sodium. When you can, make your own from scratch.
- For more information, check out our Sodium Articles and Blogs or these Sodium Fact Sheets, Shopping Tips and Nutrition Labelling.