How Many Grain Products Do You Need?

whole grain products like loaves and slices of bread,

Grain Products are an excellent source of carbohydrates needed to fuel your body. Some Grain Products are also sources of fibre. Fibre-rich foods can also help you feel full and satisfied. But how do you know if you are eating enough grain products?

Bonus! Watch the video to see this information in action.

Canada’s Food Guide recommends 6 to 8 servings of grain products a day depending on your age and if you are a man or a woman.

Children Teens Adults
2-3 4-8 9-13 14-18 years 19-50 years 51+ years
Boys and Girls Girls Boys Women Men Women Men
3 4 6 6 7 6-7 8 6 7

Get extra fibre and other important nutrients by making half of your servings a whole grain.  Examples of whole grains include whole grain bread, whole grain cereal, oatmeal, barley or brown rice.

While the number of servings recommended may seem like a lot, take a closer look at what one Food Guide serving is.

Examples of one food guide serving of grain products:

  • 1 slice bread or small roll (35 g)
  • 1 small pancake or waffle (35 g)
  • ½ bagel (45 g) or small muffin
  • ½ pita (35 g) or ½ tortilla (35 g)
  • ¼ naan or roti
  • 125 mL (½ cup) cooked brown rice, pasta, couscous, congee, quinoa
  • 30 g cold cereal or 175 mL (¾ cup) hot cereal
  • 2 cups (500 mL) plain popcorn
  • 10 saltine crackers

Find out more about Food Guide Servings in the Grain Products food group.

How to get enough grain products

An easy way to get enough grain products is to eat a couple of servings at breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. Here’s an example of what your day could look like:

  • 1 scrambled egg
  • 1 whole wheat English muffin
  • bunch of grapes
  • orange slices
2 Food Guide servings
  • Soba noodles (1 cup noodles, broth, chicken, veggies) 
2 Food Guide servings
  • 1 cup fruit (strawberries and cantaloupe)
  • ½ toasted bagel with peanut butter
1 Food Guide servings
  • White Bean Chili (made with canned white beans, canned tomatoes, celery, red pepper, frozen corn)
  • Whole grain crispy flat bread
  • Fruit flavoured yogurt 
2 Food Guide servings
TOTAL   7 Food Guide servings

Five ways to save money when buying grain products

  • Stock up on whole grains when they’re on sale. That way you’ll have these pantry staples on hand.
  • Store-brand breads and cereals tend to be less expensive compared to brand-name products.
  • Grain products can often be bought in bulk. Try different whole grains like bulgur, oats, brown rice, barley and quinoa.  That way you can buy just the amount you need.  This is a good idea when trying out something new.
  • Unsweetened cereals (such as toasted O’s, bran cereals, puffed rice, whole wheat biscuits) may cost less than cereals with added sugar. Add some sweetness by topping it with fruit. 
  • Buy day old whole grain bread, bagels, buns - freeze and use later for toast, sandwiches and bread crumbs. Breads can be kept in the freezer for up to one month.

Recipes to try:

Quinoa and Lentil Pilaf

Chicken Bulgur Salad

Banana Whole Grain Griddle Cakes

Vegetable Quinoa Salad

Baked cinnamon pears with oat topping

Soft Oatmeal Raisin Delights

You may also be interested in:

Cooking with whole grains

All about oats

How to choose the best sliced bread

Last Update – May 1, 2018

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