Canada’s New Food Guide – Whole Grains 25%

We all know that whole grains are good for us.  Well it is now part of the plate visual for the new Food Guide to include 25% of your plate to be whole grains. 

Whole grain foods have important nutrients such as:

  • fibre
  • vitamins
  • minerals

Whole grain foods are a healthier choice than refined grains because whole grain foods include all parts of the grain. Refined grains have some parts of the grain removed during processing that strips most of the nutrition away.

Whole grain foods have more fibre than refined grains.

Eating foods higher in fibre can help lower your risk of:

  • stroke
  • colon cancer
  • heart disease
  • type 2 diabetes

Choosing and preparing healthy whole grain foods

Enjoy a variety of whole grain foods such as:

  • quinoa
  • whole grain pasta
  • whole grain bread
  • whole oats or oatmeal
  • whole grain brown or wild rice

Some grain foods can have a lot of added sodium, sugars or saturated fat.

These include foods like:

  • breads
  • muffins
  • crackers
  • pasta dishes

Make sure your choices are actually whole grain

Whole wheat and multi-grain foods may not be whole grain. Some foods may look like they are whole grain because of their colour, but they may not be.

It is always important to read the ingredient list and choose foods that have the word “whole grain” followed by the name of the grain as one of the first ingredients like:

  • whole grain oats
  • whole grain wheat

Whole wheat foods are not whole grain, but can still be a healthy choice as they contain fibre. Read the fibre content on labels and chose higher fibre options. 

Use the nutrition facts table to compare the amount of fibre between products. Look at the % daily value to choose those with more fibre.

Preparing whole grain foods

Whole grain foods are tasty and nutritious without having to add highly processed sauces and spreads.

Try healthier ways to prepare your whole grain foods by:

  • leaving out or reducing the amount of salt added during preparation
  • limiting the amount of sauce or spreads you add
  • adding vegetables, vegetable oils, spices and herbs to enhance flavours

Snack ideas

Whole grain foods make quick and healthy snacks.

So many ways to enjoy them:

  • whole grain cereals
  • whole grain crackers
  • whole grain baked pita “chips”

How to include whole grain foods

There are some easy ways to get more whole grain foods on to your plate.

Try a new whole grain:

  • farro
  • freekah
  • amaranth
  • buckwheat

Some other ideas: 

  • Mix different whole grain cereals in your bowl and enjoy with lower fat white milk or unsweetened plant-based beverages.
  • Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal, whole grain cereal or whole grain toast.

Keep a variety of whole grain foods in your pantry.


  • oats
  • quinoa
  • brown rice
  • whole grain pasta
  • whole grain bread

You can also increase the amount of whole grain foods in your recipes by adding:

  • barley, bulgur and quinoa to soups, salads and stir-fries
  • brown or wild rice to white rice for more fibre and a nutty flavour

Whole grains are good for your digestive health and your heart.  It is easy to incorporate more whole grains into your diet.

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