Dec 18, 2012 • By

Go With the Whole Grain for Kids

My husband and I are getting ready to send our preschooler to kindergarten next fall. (Yikes! I don’t think I need to point out how fast time flies, especially when raising children!)

We’ve been in the process of checking out some options for our budding young scholar.

Since I haven’t stepped foot in a kindergarten classroom since, well … kindergarten, I was interested to see what was new in the way of education.

One ubiquitous feature was the use of white board technology in all the classrooms we visited. For those of you not familiar, this is the “blackboard” of the 21st century; a technology tool that lets teachers project to the classroom the handout or book that everyone is reading together, or connect to the internet for exploring the world on-line together.

Simultaneously, we at the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition are pleased to announce the release of a new and improved Go With The Whole Grain For Kids nutrition education curriculum.

It is estimated that 95 percent of the population is falling short of the whole grain recommendations. So clearly there is a lot of opportunity to help people, including our children, understand the health benefits and importance of choosing whole grains as part of an overall balanced diet.

The Go With the Whole Grain for Kids curriculum is intended for children in kindergarten through fifth grade and features two Whole Grain Heroes, Grain Girl and Grain Boy, who guide students on a journey to learn about the benefits of whole grains. (Despite many creative attempts to name our heroes, Grain Boy and Grain Girl consistently won out in focus groups. Here’s to simplicity!)


And, in order to leverage the latest in classroom technology, the newly updated program also includes a new interactive white board activity appropriate for students in grades 3 to 5.

The new white board activity is an engaging addition to the more traditional tools of the program (slide program and in-class activity sheets) that teaches students how to identify whole grain foods. The program components for students do not include any General Mills branding. It is strictly a nutrition education resource with the goal of helping children improve their diets.

First released in 2007, the refreshed Go With the Whole Grain for Kids program has also been updated to reflect the latest MyPlate recommendations.

The white board activity has students choose from three different foods to select the whole grain option by dragging it to the Grains section of the MyPlate graphic. Not only does this reinforce the clues students can use to identify whole grains, it also increases familiarity with the sections of MyPlate.

As a MyPlate National Strategic Partner, we’re proud to support the “make half your grains whole grains” message in the context of a balanced diet.

Overall, the program is designed to educate teachers and their students about the health benefits of whole grains, dietary guidelines and how to choose whole grain foods.

The curriculum was developed in collaboration with our whole grain scientists in the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition and education experts to create and test the curriculum with kids. We received feedback from educators and children in both a rural and urban schools through a series of focus groups.

We’re excited about the program and hope it will be a valuable part of helping more kids and their parents make half their grains whole grains.