September has been proclaimed Whole Grains Month by the Whole Grains Council (who better to do it?). In honor of the event they are launching a new website and educational events, but, we were most intrigued by their “Top Ten School Lunch Ideas.” These kid-tested favorites are of course adult-friendly too, and most were already dairy-free. We made just a few slight modifications to meet with the Go Dairy Free mantra, and added a couple of comments along the way …
- Pack a baggie of popcorn for snack time. It is a 100 percent whole grain snack, easily made at home.
- Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with whole white wheat bread. White wheat has all the nutrition of other whole wheat varieties, but a lighter color and milder flavor.
- Choose oatmeal-raisin cookies (gluten-free version) instead of chocolate chip for whole grain goodness.
- Pack multi-grain chips or whole grain pretzels instead of potato chips. Even whole grain cheese puffs are now available (go for the vegan Tings).
- Little hands find whole grain pita pockets easy to hold, and fillings, such as tuna fish salad, stay inside instead of dripping out.
- Whole grain oats are the first ingredient in most granola bars. Choose brands lower in sugar for whole grain benefits without approaching candy-bar levels of sweetness.
- Whole grain bagels or square bagel breads make an ordinary sandwich seem special.
- Share cooking fun with your children and bake one of the many whole grain mixes now on grocery shelves, from cranberry-orange muffins to cinnamon buns (for whole grain goodness, we like the vegan mixes from Goodbaker, for gluten-free, see our baking mix reviews). Or, make family favorites using whole grain ingredients, such as brown rice crispy cereal and whole wheat flour. (Try the kid-tested zucchini bars using whole wheat flour!)
- Make trail mix by combining dried fruit bits with whole grain cereal.
- Whole wheat, multi-grain and whole-corn tortillas make easy wraps.
The Whole Grain Stamp (shown below), now found on about 1,400 supermarket products throughout the nation guarantees that the product contains a half-serving (8 g) or more of whole grains per serving. According to USDA 2005 Dietary Guidelines, children ages 4-8 should eat 2 to 4 servings of whole grains daily, while everyone nine and older should eat 3 to 6 whole grain servings each day.