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Grain foods

This food group includes breads, rice, pasta, noodles, grains (eg. oats, corn, maize, quinoa, cornmeal/polenta) and breakfast cereals. 

Grain foods give us most of the carbohydrate we need for energy to see us through the day, help us concentrate at school and work, and to power us when we play sport or do exercise. They contain:

  • B vitamins which help our body use the energy from food;
  • fibre (especially from ‘brown’ wholegrain varieties); and
  • minerals, such as zinc and magnesium.

How much do we need to eat?

The amount we need depends on our age. For example, Adults should aim to eat at least 6 servings of breads and cereals per day, choosing wholegrain varieties, such as brown rice & pasta and wholegrain or wholemeal breads.

Serving sizes

  • 2 breakfast wheat biscuits
  • 1 whole grain bread roll or 1 sandwich slice of whole grain bread
  • 1 cup of cooked porridge/rolled oats or 1 cup of muesli
  • 1 cup of cooked pasta or brown rice

Tips for eating grains

  • Wholegrain types provide extra fibre, B vitamins and minerals. Visit our fibre page for more details.
  • Switch from ‘white’ to wholegrain or wholemeal bread, pasta, rice and breakfast cereals.  For reluctant family members, try one slice of wholemeal bread and one slice of white bread in a sandwich. Wholegrain varieties of breakfast cereals include porridge and muesli.  Whatever the variety though, these foods are important, so white is better than none!
  • Use foods from this group as a snack (eg. toast) or as a meal (eg. rice with a stirfry)
  • These foods are filling, not fattening, as many believe.  It’s how much you eat and what you add to them that adds calories.  Add just a scraping of butter or margarine to bread and toast, and use tomato-based sauces with pasta, rather than fat-laden creamy sauces. 

Grains what do kiwis think, and how do they enjoy them?

Produced by Cereal Partners Worldwide Nestle and General Mills.

This resource looks at the consumption of grain-based foods in New Zealand (in 2014), with emphasis on food categories and quantities. It also explores attitudes towards and awareness of grain foods and dietary recommendations; wholegrain and fibre
recommendations; barriers to consumption, and influencers of food choices. Click to download Grains what do kiwis think, and how do they enjoy them?

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