Whole Grain Simple Swaps Challenge

By  Ann Dunaway Teh & Lesley Baradel

This post is sponsored by General Mills Big G Cereals as part of their #ButFirstWholeGrain Challenge. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Guess What?
September is National Whole Grains Month!

#ad In honor of September as National Whole Grain Month we teamed up with General Mills to challenge you to eat more whole grains every day. We have some simple swaps to help you reach your daily goal, plus some new recipes for easy, family-friendly whole grain goodness.

We want to challenge you and your family to increase your intake of whole grains this week. We also hope this will instill a new focus on whole grains for you and your family going forward. But, we are up for the challenge, too! We will also take a renewed focus on whole grains in our own lives. Check us out on our social media channels this week to see what we are doing to increase our whole grain intake.

So, what are whole grains and why should you care?

Whole grains are those like wheat, oats, corn, barley, rye, rice, and sorghum that are eaten in their whole form or containing the three edible parts of the seed of the plant. Refined grains have one or more of those parts removed in processing, thereby losing a great deal of protein and 17 other nutrients.

The edible portions of whole grains

Whole grains are an important component of the diet providing many health benefits. Whole grains are rich in B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, fiber and antioxidants. Because whole grains are so nutrient-rich it should come as no surprise that eating 3 or more servings a day can reduce heart disease risk by as much as 36%, stroke by 37%, type II diabetes by 27% and certain types of cancer by as much as 40 to 43%.

Did you know that 1% of adults eat the recommended amount of whole grains per day and less than 1% of children do? Adults should eat at least 48 grams of whole grains per day. And while it isn’t necessarily easy to count whole grains – it isn’t always included on the nutrition facts panel – there are some easy ways to make sure you are getting a good day’s worth. And if you make sure you are taking care of your daily needs, then it will only be natural that your children will follow suit both by example and available foods.

To know if a product is a whole grain or not, you need to read the ingredient list. The word “whole” will appear next to the grain listed if it is indeed a whole grain. For instance, the first ingredient in all General Mills Big G Cereals is a whole grain. Cereal is such a simple way to get whole grains into your diet for their ease and convenience for breakfast and snacks, especially when packaged with other nutrient-rich foods to round it out.

How to know if a food contains whole grains or not - read the label and look for the word "whole"!

There are a bunch of other ways to easily incorporate more whole grains into your diet. Here are some easy swaps you can make:

  • Whole grain bread instead of white bread
  • Whole wheat English Muffin for white English muffin
  • Whole wheat pasta for white pasta
  • Whole wheat bagel for white bagel
  • Quinoa for rice
  • White whole wheat flour instead of white flour
  • Whole wheat pancake and waffle mix for regular pancakes and waffles

And if your family isn’t on board with 100% whole grain, then look for whole grain rich alternatives. Whole grain rich means that at least 51% of the product is whole grain and is a good transition to 100% whole grain.

Want to see how this translates into your daily routine? Here are some of our favorite recipe ideas to get you and your family started:

Breakfast:
Cheer Up Breakfast Popsicles
Cheer Up Breakfast Popsicles are the perfect start to the day with Greek yogurt, sliced fruit and the whole grain goodness of Honey Nut Cheerios in a popsicle form! #ad
Egg McBeast

Egg McBeast is a great way to fuel up for the day.

Cereal-ific Whole Grain Pancakes

Lunch and Dinner:
Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

Black Bean Quinoa Burger is a great veggie burger the whole family will love

Quick Quinoa Veggie Bowl

Quick quinoa veggie bowl is an easy assemble-yourself lunch or dinner full of whole grain and plant based protein goodness

Wheaties Oven Baked Ravioli

Wheaties oven baked ravioli are a healthy spin on fried ravioli and a kid favorite

Snacks:
Feeling Lucky Snack Mix
Feeling Lucky Snack Mix is an easy snack mix to make using Lucky Charms, popcorn, pretzels, cranberries, peanuts and vanilla Chex. The perfect marriage of a salty and sweet snack mix!
Cinna-Crunch Power Smoothie

Cinna-Crunch Power Smoothie

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

Join us this week on our social media channels as we challenge you to add more whole grains to your daily life using #ButFirstWholeGrain!

Try a different spin on the traditional snack mix with our no bake Feeling Lucky Snack Mix with Lucky Charms cereal, Vanilla Chex, Dried Cranberries, Popcorn, Peanuts and Pretzels.
#ad Get your morning off on the right start with a breakfast popsicle made with 3 simple ingredients: Honey Nut Cheerios, Fresh Fruit and Greek Yogurt.
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