A Gradual Approach to Increasing Whole Grain Consumption in Children
R. A. Rosen (1), K. Schmitz (1), E. A. Cohen (2), E. A. Arndt (3), M. Reicks (1), and L. Marquart (1,4). (1) Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, U.S.A. (2) Elyse Cohen Health and Nutrition Communications, Edina, MN, U.S.A. (3) ConAgra, Foods, Inc., Omaha, NE, U.S.A. (4) Grains for Health Foundation, St. Paul, MN, U.S.A. Cereal Foods World 54(3):113-117.
Data suggests children in the U.S. are not getting enough whole grains—less than the 3 servings recommended daily—and therefore may not receive all the health benefits whole grains offer. Acceptance of new foods, such as whole grains, may take repeated exposure, plus presentation in a combination of familiar and unfamiliar attributes, such as pizza with a whole grain crust. Studies strongly suggest that gradually introducing whole grain foods, such as rolls or snacks, with increasing levels of whole grain is a way to gain acceptance and inclusion of whole grains into the diets of school-age children. Educating parents, children, and foodservice staff can improve whole grain availability and intake. Efforts based on communication and partnerships between school foodservice, academia, food manufacturers, regulatory and policy-making entities, and scientific and trade groups may increase consumption of whole grain foods by increasing availability in schools. This may improve diets of children and contribute to long-term health.