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Grain Products

Grain products should be given special attention, because they contain iron, zinc, and B vitamins. They are a major source of dietary fiber and are low in fat. High-fiber foods can help you feel full and satisfied, which helps in controlling your weight. Grain products also help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Foods belonging to this group include bagels, English muffins, whole-wheat and rye bread, pasta, rice, couscous, millet, cereals, and oat bran. These foods are essential because they provide carbohydrates, which are the fuel that your brain and red blood cells need to function properly. Some foods, however, can be confused with grain products, when, in actuality, they are very high in fat. Examples of this are croissants, chocolatines, pastries, commercial muffins, doughnuts, and danishes. They should be eaten in moderation.

Getting the Most Out of the Recommendations in Canada's Food Guide

  • Opt for whole-grain products at least every other serving.
  • Opt for grain products that are lower in fat, sugar, and salt.

Recommended Servings

Canada’s Food Guide recommends that adults have 6 to 8 servings of grain products every day, depending on age and sex.

A serving is:

  • 1 slice of bread or ½ bagel
  • 125 mL (½ cup) of cooked pasta, rice, or couscous
  • ½ pita or ½ tortilla
  • 30 g of ready-to-eat cereal or 175 mL (¾ cup) of hot cereal

Simple Tips for Eating more Grain Products

  • Start the day with cereal or bread.
  • Increase the number of servings of grain products during meals: rice, couscous, pasta, etc.
  • For snacks, give children dry cereal that is low in sugar but high in fiber.
  • Make meals with pasta more often and try different kinds, such as whole wheat and spinach. Vary the shapes, too: fettuccine, linguine, spaghettini, tortellini, penne, etc.
  • Use whole-grain flour to make desserts and snacks. Your muffins, biscuits, bread, and cookies will be much more nutritious !

"Sample Menu for Ms. Sunshine"

Breakfast

  • 2 pieces of whole-wheat toast (2 servings)
  • 1 tablespoon (30 mL) of peanut butter
  • 1 cup (250 mL) of orange juice
  • 1 glass of chocolate milk

Lunch

  • Vegetable soup
  • Medium plate of spaghetti with meat sauce (about 1½ cups) (3 servings)
  • 1 wheat roll (1 serving)
  • Vegetable juice
  • Fruit and yogurt for dessert

Snack

  • Homemade bran muffin (1 serving)

Dinner

  • Pea soup
  • Chicken breast
  • 1 cup (250 mL) of cooked brown rice (2 servings)
  • Side dish of vegetables
  • Apple sauce

Ms. Sunshine had 9 servings of grain products during the day. Does that seem like too much to you? She ate according to her needs and had more than the minimum number of servings for this food group.