Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

How Much in a Day?

Grain products are foods made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or any other grains.

According to MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, school-age youth need about 5 to 8 ounces of grains a day; adults need 6 to 8 ounces.

Daily Reccommendation* Daily minimum amount of whole grains
Children 2-3 years old: 3 ounce equivalents
4-8 years old: 5 ounce equivalents
2-3 years old: 1.5 ounce equivalents
4-8 years old: 2.5 ounce equivalents
Girls  9-13 years old: 5 ounce equivalents
14-18 years old: 6 ounce equivalents
 9-13 years old: 3 ounce equivalents
14-18 years old: 6 ounce equivalents
Boys   9-13 years old: 6 ounce equivalents
14-18 years old: 8 ounce equivalents
  9-13 years old: 3 ounce equivalents
14-18 years old: 4 ounce equivalents
Women 19-30 years old: 6 ounce equivalents
31-50 years old: 6 ounce equivalents
51+ years old: 5 ounce equivalents
19-30 years old: 3 ounce equivalents
31-50 years old: 3 ounce equivalents
51+ years old: 3 ounce equivalents
Men 19-30 years old: 8 ounce equivalents
31-50 years old: 7 ounce equivalents
51+ years old: 6 ounce equivalents
19-30 years old: 4 ounce equivalents
31-50 years old: 3.5 ounce equivalents
51+ years old: 3 ounce equivalents

*These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity beyond normal daily activities. Those who are more physically active may be able to consume more while staying within calorie needs. Source: ChooseMyPlate

In general, a 1-ounce equivalent is:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • ½ of an English muffin
  • 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal
  • 1 4½-inch pancake
  • 1 6-inch tortilla
  • 7 square or round saltines or snack crackers
  • ½ cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal

 Storing and Discarding

  • Store bread you will use soon in an airtight container at room temperature. Freeze the rest in airtight freezer packaging and use within six months. Storing bread in the refrigerator can cause it to dry out.
  • Use nearly-stale bread for French toast, stuffing, bread crumbs, or croutons.
  • Whole grain products like whole wheat pasta and brown rice can be stored in the cupboard at room temperature. Whole wheat flour is best kept in the freezer as it can go rancid if it is stored at room temperature for too long.

Video/Handout

How to store bread video | Handout

Grain Choices

Look for whole grain.

Whole grain products may cost a few cents more but the added nutritional value makes them a smart buy. Use these clues to make sure you get the whole grain you pay for.

  • Choose products with whole grain listed as the first in the ingredient: Whole wheat, whole rye, whole grain corn, whole oats, graham flour, oatmeal, brown rice, bulgur, wild rice.
  • Don’t be fooled by color. Caramel coloring may be added to give some bread products the appearance of being whole grain.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts Label. Whole grain products generally have at least three grams of fiber per serving.

Be patient and experiment.

If your family prefers or currently eats refined bread and crackers, start with products that list both whole wheat and enriched flour, but make sure whole wheat is first on the ingredient list.

  • Try the store brand. Do a blind taste test to see if your family can really tell the difference. They may be requesting foods because of  something they saw on TV or in someone else’s lunchbox.
  • If your family insists on “instant” oatmeal, you can offer them something healthier and less expensive that is just as fast. Doctor up quick-cooking oatmeal with a few extra ingredients. Use our recipe for making your own instant oatmeal packets.
  • Prepare rice and noodle side dishes with your own seasonings. Mixes can be convenient, but they typically cost more and are higher in sodium than recipes made at home. Add your favorite flavorings to instant brown rice or whole wheat pasta for a healthier dish in the same amount of time. If you want to use a packaged rice or noodle dish, use half of the seasoning packet to cut down on sodium.
  • Consider popcorn for a whole grain snack: Compared to other snack foods, it’s low in calories, high in fiber, and is a bargain if you use a hot-air popper or a pan on the stove. Get help and ideas from our flavored popcorn recipes and instructions on how to make popcorn in a pan on the stove. A half-cup of kernels makes about eight cups of popcorn.

 

Videos/Handouts

Links