University of Illinois Extension

Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta or the Grains Group

The Grains Group is important in our diet. This is where much of the energy that our bodies need is found. Our bodies convert carbohydrates to blood glucose, the form of energy that our bodies use to do work.

While many individuals view bread as "fattening", whole grain breads, cereal, pasta, and rice contribute B vitamins and iron, particularly if they are enriched. Whole grains are also an excellent source of the fiber that our bodies need to keep food moving through the digestive system. Because grains come from plant foods, they are naturally low in fat and cholesterol.

Most Grains Group choices are not good sources of calcium. Adding cheese will increase the calcium in any sandwich or snack. Many Grains Group foods are now fortified with calcium. Check the label! Tortillas made with lime-processed corn have extra calcium. Check the Nutrition Facts Label to see if your corn tortillas contain calcium.

Choose lower sodium foods from this group such as whole grain breads, pasta, and rice. Some foods are higher sodium because of salted tops to the product or extra added salt for seasoning. In these cases choose lower sodium foods such as reduced sodium crackers, or crackers with unsalted tops. Grains are a good source of magnesium, another bone healthy mineral.