NH DHHS - WIC Makes Whole Grains Easy and Healthy

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Women Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is promoting whole grains as healthy foods based on the many vitamins and minerals they offer, plus high levels of antioxidants and other healthy plant-based nutrients.

According to Dr. Jose Montero, Director of the Division of Public Health Services at DHHS, “Research continues to turn up new evidence on the benefits of whole grains to keep people healthy. In addition to digestive health, studies have shown that eating more whole grains may help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, all of which are chronic diseases we are trying to prevent in children, through our public health nutrition programs.”

All grains start out as whole grains, but the “milling” process removes part of the original grain. The 2005 US Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans make at least half their grains whole. This means that most people should eat three or more servings of whole grain each day.

There are a variety of whole grain foods available on the marketplace, including whole grain bagels, whole grain pita bread, popcorn, and brown rice. One serving of whole grains is one slice of 100% whole grain bread, one cup of 100% whole grain cold cereals, or ½ cup of 100% whole grain hot cereal, cooked pasta, or rice. To learn more about whole grains, go to www.wholegrainscouncil.org or www.mypyramid.gov/pyramid/grains.html.

Starting October 1, 2009, the New Hampshire WIC Nutrition Program will be adding a variety of whole grain foods to the food packages for WIC families. Women and children will have a choice of: whole grain cereals tortillas (only soft yellow or white corn tortillas or whole wheat tortillas), whole grain sliced bread, brown rice or oatmeal

An important goal of the new WIC food packages is for WIC foods to support healthy eating as recommended in USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. WIC nutritionists will be encouraging families to try different whole grains, such as brown rice, that may not be a familiar food for young children. WIC will be offering healthy recipes for how to combine brown rice with green vegetables and lean protein to make a “healthy rice bowl.” WIC will also be adding additional new foods starting October 1, 2009, including fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables, canned beans, soymilk and tofu, and jarred baby foods for infants.

For more information on whole grains in the new WIC food packages and the WIC Nutrition Program for pregnant women, new mothers, and preschool children, call 1-800-WIC-4321 (1-800-942-4321) or go to http://www.dhhs.state.nh.us/DHHS/WIC.