The back to school season is upon us, and your little student’s health and food choices are important factors in his or her everyday academic and extracurricular performance. So today, I’d like to take the opportunity to talk to you about the health benefits of whole grains. Experts believe that introducing whole grains to your child early on can help build healthy eating habits that can have positive effects for a lifetime.
Some of the health benefits of whole grains include:
- Fiber – important for digestive health
- B vitamins – play a key role in the metabolism by helping the body release energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates
- Folate – help the body form red blood cells
- Iron – used to carry oxygen in the blood
- Magnesium and selenium – important minerals for building bones and a healthy immune system
Also, eating whole grains as part of a child’s healthy diet may reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases later in life. Whole grains contain the essential and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain: bran, germ and endosperm. The 2010 US Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans of all age groups make whole grains half or more of their grain consumption. This means eating 3-5 servings of whole grains a day. That may seem like a lot, but the good news is it’s actually not hard to get the recommended servings.
The serving sizes include:
- ½ cup cooked whole grain pasta
- ½ cup cooked brown rice, bulgur, cooked whole grain cereal
- 1 slice whole grain bread
- 1 cup ready-to-eat whole grain cereal flakes
The best way to introduce your child to whole grains is by incorporating it in a dish he or she already loves, such as Spaghetti and Meatballs. Carrabba’s offers 100% whole grain spaghetti as an option for our kid’s Spaghetti and Meatballs and also our Whole Grain Spaghetti Pomodoro with Spinach, which meets the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell nutritional guidelines. Carrabba’s partners with Barilla to bring you one of the most nutritious 100% whole grain pastas on the market. Barilla was the first national brand of whole grain pasta and the only one that meets adult and child consumer taste needs.
Eating whole grains isn’t just for kids though. Set a good example by eating whole grains as a meal with your kids. Experts agree that eating whole grains with children increases the likelihood of the child’s acceptance. While whole grains are trending in the US because of the health benefits, in Italy whole grains are seen as a delicious part of its culinary tradition. At Carrabba’s, we like to pair our whole grain spaghetti with these signature Carrabba’s sauces:
- Pic Pac Sauce: Crushed tomatoes with olive oil , garlic and basil, 560 calories
- Bolognese Sauce: Blend of ground beef and pork with our Pomodoro sauce, 650 calories
- Pomodoro Sauce & Meatballs: Our simply delicious tomato sauce with our signature meatballs, 840 calories
- Pomodoro Sauce & Sausage: Our tomato sauce with our signature fennel sausage, 840 calories
It’s important to provide your body with the necessary nutrients it needs, and whole grains can help you do that. And remember, Carrabba’s can always help you toward your daily whole grain consumption goals, whether you dine-in with us or order your pasta to go.
If you have any additional questions about whole grains, we’d love to hear your comments below.