How much do you need per 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.

In general, a 1-ounce equivalent is:

    • bread1 slice of bread 
    • 1/2 of an English muffin
    • 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal
    • 1 4-1/2-inch pancake
    • 1 6-inch tortilla
    • 7 square or round saltines or snack crackers
    • 1/2 cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal

Download Spend Smart Basics: Grains for more information about smart shopping in the bread aisle.


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 3 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.

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