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a view of a wheat field during sunset

Whole Grain

Whole Grain, the Whole Story

The word is out … whole grain is good for us. And it’s not just hype or a fad. So what is whole grain exactly? Well, the clue is in the name; whole grains are the complete grain, with all its nutrients. Unlike refined grains, nothing has been taken away.

What about white?

When grains are refined to make ‘white’ products, like white bread, and white rice and pasta, the outer parts of the grain are thrown away and only the middle section is used. It’s fine to eat refined foods – don’t panic! – they’re good for you too, they just don't contain as many nutrients as their whole grain sibling.

Bran: The fiber-rich outer layer contains protein, B vitamins and antioxidants

Endosperm: The starchy bit in the middle includes protein and carbohydrates for energy, and some B vitamins

Germ: Packed with nutrients, the inner part contains B vitamins and vitamin E plus minerals like magnesium, and omega-6 fatty acids.

Illustration of a whole grain

Did you

know?

Illustration of a globe

Mighty Wheat!

Wheat is the most widely grown cereal grain. It’s grown on over 17 per cent of the total cultivated land in the world, and is the staple food for 35 per cent of the world’s population. It provides more calories and protein in the world’s diet than any other crop.

Illustration of puffing grains

Pop goes the kernel!

Popcorn is simply a puffed-up whole grain. It’s made from a special type of corn called ‘zea mays everta’ – the only type of corn that can ‘pop’. Try popping your own corn at home with the kids – great fun!

Whole grain or not whole grain?

Grains are everywhere! In the summertime, many fields in the countryside may be full of wheat, oats, barley and corn (rice is grown in waterlogged paddy fields). 

But at the supermarket, how can you tell the whole from the not-so-whole? You may be surprised that some of the foods you’d imagine to be whole grain, actually aren’t.

Discover some fun facts about whole grain

These are whole grains

a bowl of pop corn

 

 

  • Bulgur wheat
  • Whole corn
  • Cracked wheat
  • Whole oats
  • Durum wheat
  • Rolled oats
  • Buckwheat
  • Porridge
  • Spelt
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole barley
  • Oat flakes
  • Hulled barley
  • Brown rice
  • Naked barley
  • Wild rice

These aren't whole grains

a bowl of white rice
  • Bran
  • Corn meal
  • Polenta
  • Corn grits
  • Pearled barley
  • White rice

  

Go whole grain!

So whole grains are an important part of a varied, balanced diet for your whole family – and they taste great too! Go whole grain!

Find out more about switching to whole grain

a bowl of white rice

Footnotes

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    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.

    Which Nestlé cereals are made with whole grain?

    All Nestlé breakfast cereals carrying the green banner are made with whole grain; this is our Whole Grain Guarantee. They are made with at least 8g or more of whole grain per 30g serving. There are ingredient lists on all packs, showing the exact amount. By end of 2015, we’re committed to making whole grain the main ingredient in all Nestlé cereals popular with children.

    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

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    We'd love to hear your comments about Nestlé cereals, so please let us know what you think, we always appreciate hearing from you.

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