Unit 5 Information for Leaders

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A PDF version of this unit is available here.

Behavior Goal

Children will eat more whole grain foods.

Key Messages for Kids

  • Whole grains are important because they help you feel full longer and make your body healthy.
  • Eat whole grains (like whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat crackers and brown rice) instead of refined grains (like white bread, muffins, pasta, and white rice) whenever possible.
  • Breakfast is a great time to try whole grains. Try whole grain cereals, waffles, bread, or bagels.

Key Information for Program Staff

Many children do not eat enough whole grains. Whole grains contain fiber, vitamin E, and healthy fats. Whole grains help keep your blood sugar under control, arteries clear, and they also make you feel full longer. Refined "white" flour and sugar do not have the nutrients or health benefits of whole grains. When serving grains for snack (like bread, crackers, and cereal), serve whole grains! Read nutrition labels and choose 100% whole grain breads and cereals that have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Choose breads and cereals that list a whole grain first, like whole wheat, barley, oats or rye. As you explore all the different types of whole grains, try to incorporate foods that are relevant to the lives of the children you serve. Take time to talk to kids about the grains they eat at home, identify which of these grains are whole grains, and make sure to incorporate them into your snacks and activities in this unit.

Children have several opportunities during the day to consume whole grains. The two easiest meals to do so are breakfast and lunch since there are many cereals and breads made with whole grains. Out-of-school programs can help introduce such whole grain foods like whole wheat crackers (with no trans fats), breakfast cereals (with less than 5g of sugar per servings), mini whole-wheat bagels, and whole wheat pita bread. There are many whole grains options available for the same price as refined options.

  • Look for products with at least 3 grams of fiber and no more than 5 grams of sugar per serving.
  • Refer to the "Whole Grains" Tip Sheet PDF for ideas on how to serve whole grains in your afterschool program.
  • The browser version of this tip sheet is located here
  • The fast map for this unit is available here
  • The browser version of this fast map is available here