How to grow grain
Children are curious, so when they ask “How is my cereal made? How does it grow?” You could tell them cereal comes from grains and show them how to grow their own. Okay, it may take a little time, but it will be a lot of fun. You don't even need a big garden - just some soil in a large pot will do. Follow our Step by step guide and they’ll be little farmers in no time!
Seeds made Simple!
Wheat seeds are often available at garden centers and DIY shops or online. Check that the seeds are the right ones for the time of year you're planting:
- Winter wheat is planted in the fall and harvested from mid-May.
- Spring wheat is planted in the spring and harvested in the fall.
Both spring and winter wheat are divided into:
- Soft wheat, which has a low gluten content and is used for pastries and crackers.
- Hard wheat which is high in gluten and used for bread, and durum wheat which is used for pasta.
The type that's best for you will depend on where you live. It's worth asking for advice from the garden centre when you buy your seeds.
A whole lot of grains
One bushel of wheat contains around a million individual whole grain kernels.
War On Whole Grain
Amaranth is a whole grain that was incredibly important to the Aztecs. So when the Spanish invaded, their leader, Cortez, tried to destroy the Aztecs by not allowing them to grow it - anyone caught was put to death!
1. It’s all about timing.
Wheat should be planted in the spring or the fall. Timing is important, so it’s a good idea to make a note on your calendar of when you need to start planting your seeds.
2. Prepare the soil
You'll need some good rich soil, so it's best to dig in some compost. Make sure the ground is fairly even - you can use a rake and a spade to do this. Most children love digging and raking – so sit back and let them play!
3. Start planting
Sprinkle the seeds over the soil - you will need 85 g for every 10 square meters. It’s best to help your child do this – just in case you get wheat in your flower beds!
4. Rake it out
Rake over the soil to cover the seeds. Help your child out with this job because it needs a gentle touch.
5. Scare the crows!
You probably won’t need a scarecrow – but if you’re planting outside you’ll need to cover the seeds to protect them from birds.
6. Just add water
Make sure the seeds get enough water - if it doesn't rain, water them once a day. (Why not get your child their own little watering can?) If you go away, why not ask a neighbor to water your crop? You can pick up an inexpensive and easy to use kit from your local DIY shop or garden center.
7. See how they grow!
Be patient, and before long you'll see the first green shoots. After a few months, the color of the stalks will turn from green to yellow or brown. Then the heads will become heavy with grain and start to bend forward. So now you have your own crop of golden wheat, what are you going to do with it? Well, you could harvest it and make your own wheat flour. Alternatively, you could sit back and admire your beautiful golden wheat – it really does look fantastic and is an unusual addition to your garden or outside area.
We've tried to answer as many of your questions as possible. You can search them all here:
How can I find foods made with whole grain?
Two things to remember: • Look for food labels where the word 'whole' appears in front of the name of the grain, like “whole wheat” or “wholemeal bread”. • For foods with more than one ingredient, make sure whole grain is listed towards the top of the ingredients list. The further up the list it is, the more whole grain has been used in the recipe. And look out for the percentage of whole grain. You should find this in the ingredients list too. It’s easy to know if a Nestlé breakfast cereal is made with whole grain: just look out for the Green Banner and whole grain tick on top of the box.
What should be in a complete breakfast?
A complete breakfast should include a balance of nutrients from each of the major food groups. As a guide, it might look like this: • 1 grain-based starchy food • 1 dairy food • 1 portion of fresh fruit • 1 glass of water • Optionally, an additional source of protein Nestlé breakfast cereals are a nutritious breakfast choice as they are: • A source of fiber and whole grain • Low in fat (most have low levels of all types of fat, including saturates) • Fortified with vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, calcium and iron • A lower calorie per kilojoule, fat and sugar choice than many other breakfast food options
Do breakfast cereals contain too much saturated fat?
No. Breakfast cereals aren’t a major source of saturated fats, and contain no added trans fats. Some grains, such as oats, can be higher in fats – but these are naturally present in the grain, and tend to be ‘good’ fats, not saturated fats.
Can processed foods be made with whole grain?
Yes. If a food product has the word “whole” listed on its ingredient label – wholewheat pasta or wholemeal bread, for example, then you know it’s been made with whole grain flour, even if the other ingredients are processed. By the way, even whole grains need to be processed: removing the inedible outer husk makes them safe to eat. But they’re less processed than refined grains, which require additional steps to remove the bran and germ.
Do breakfast cereals really make a significant contribution to vitamin and mineral intakes?
Research shows that adults and children who regularly eat fortified breakfast cereals are more likely to reach their daily requirements of vitamins and minerals, including the B Vitamins and Iron. Eating whole grain breakfast cereal with milk is a nutritious way to start the day and can be part of a healthy, balanced diet.
We'd love to hear your comments about Nestlé cereals, so please let us know what you think, we always appreciate hearing from you.