Eating Enough Whole Grain?

Despite the nutritional benefits, many of us are eating little, or even no whole grain.

Try to eat whole grains every day

Most of us know it’s important to eat at least five portions of fruit and veg every day. However it’s unclear as to whether people realise high fibre foods are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. The dietary recommendation for adults is that we should aim for at least 30g of fibre a day, but currently only manage, on average, about 18g.

There’s no specific quantified recommendation for whole grain consumption in the UK; we’re just advised to ‘choose whole grain varieties where possible’. But in the US at least 48g per day is recommended for adults. In the UK, average consumption is about 20g per day for adults and 13g per day for children and teenagers. And about 1 in 6 adults and 1 in 7 children don’t eat any whole grains at all!

Try our whole grain challenge

The challenge is to include whole grains in at least one meal or snack every single day, choosing from the variety of wholegrain foods available. In the US it's recommended that you eat at least three 16g servings of whole grains per day - 48g in total. Pictured below is a rough guide to what one 16g serving of whole grain* looks like:

3 heaped tbsps whole grain breakfast cereal

1 heaped tbsp uncooked porridge oats

1 medium slice wholemeal bread

1 small wholemeal roll

2 oatcakes

1/2 wholemeal pitta bread

1 small whole wheat tortilla

1/2 wholemeal scone

2 rye crispbreads

1/2 wholemeal savoury muffin

1/2 wholemeal bagel

2 heaped tbsps cooked brown rice

2 heaped tbsps cooked wild rice

3 heaped tbsps cooked brown pasta

3 cups popped popcorn

*These are based on recommendations and figures from US dietary guidelines. There are no specific recommendations for whole grain intake in the UK and the whole grain content in products in the UK may differ. If you're interested, here's the findings of some research on how much whole grain is in a selection of UK products. See tables three and four in particular.