A secret to living a healthy life: Whole Grains

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Mums and Dads, you’ve heard all about the goodness of whole grains. But do you really know what they are, and why they’re beneficial to our health? Learn more about the benefits of whole grains and how to include them in our daily meals.

Fruits and vegetables often come to mind when people think of healthy foods, as they’re full of vitamins, fibre, and antioxidants. But did you know that this cocktail of goodness can also be found in the humble whole grain?

In the second installment of this video series (click HERE to watch the first), Ms Gladys Wong, a dietician at the Singapore Nutrition & Dietetic Association, shares the 101 of whole grains and its benefits, plus some breakfast options to keep your family energised for a great start to the day.

What’s in a whole grain?

To qualify as a grain, according to The Whole Grains Council, it must consist of three parts – the bran, endosperm, and germ – all in their original proportions. According to the Whole Grains Council, whole grains are important sources of essential nutrients like fibre, iron, B vitamins, and even protein.

It also offers a cornucopia of health benefits, including:

  • A good source of energy for your family
  • More fibre, vitamins, and minerals compared to refined grains, which contain significantly less nutrients and protein
  • Helps reduce cholesterol levels, obesity, type 2 diabetes, the risk of coronary heart diseases, and cancer
  • Helps with digestion; prevents constipation

However, 94% of children in Singapore eat less than the 3 daily-recommended servings of whole grains (totaling 48 grams).

Health is key: make the easy switch

Mums, just imagine all the health benefits that you and your family will gain by simply consuming more whole grains - there’s no reason not to make a switch.

Now that you’re ready try it out, here are some whole grain foods that are readily available at the local supermarket:

  • Brown rice/pasta
  • Whole grain bread/crackers
  • Breakfast cereals with whole grain as the no. 1 ingredient
  • Porridge oats
  • Wholemeal tortilla
  • Popcorn (ideally with no or very low fat and salt)

If you’re cracking your head over how to include more whole grains into your fussy little eater’s meals, here are some easy and smart ways to sneak it in. Who knows, your little munchkin may even start asking for more without realising the difference!

#1 Make it fun

  • As a start, make a sandwich with a slice of whole grain bread and a slice of white bread, and then cut it into cute animal shapes. This makes for a unique and appealing looking snack.
  • Be creative with whole grain breakfast cereals– top the bowl up with milk or yoghurt in a flavour that your child likes, and add your child’s favourite fruits cut in fun shapes

#2 Bond over it

  • Offer popcorn while enjoying your weekly family home movie time instead of chips
  • Enlist your kids’ help in making their favourites like banana pancakes, biscotti, or even chocolate muffins by using whole grain ingredients such as whole wheat flour.

#3 Introduce small food swaps

  • Mix brown rice with white rice when cooking your family’s favourite rice dish
  • Add a packet of whole grain crackers and cheese wedges to your child’s lunch box

Head on to the third video in this series for more tips on increasing the family’s whole grain consumption, HERE.

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