Lucy Costa, WIC Vendor Specialist
Over the summer, I had the wonderful pleasure of visiting my home country with my family. My father and I emigrated from Sao Miguel, Azores to America in 1970. Sao Miguel is the largest and most populated of the nine Azorean Islands. It measures 50 miles long by 10 miles wide and everywhere you go the ocean is right in view. Prior to this summer’s visit, I hadn’t visited in over twelve years. I was amazed at how much the island had changed (i.e., more retail stores, roads, highways, etc.) but at how little their eating habits had changed. Many of the island people still eat a considerable amount of white flour bread, white rice, and sugared cereals due to the lack of availability of whole grain products.
Here in the U.S., we are fortunate to have a wide range of whole grain products available. In the WIC food package, there are options such as whole grain breads, brown rice, tortillas and whole grain cereals! Making the transition to whole grains may be a little tough at first, but if you start by switching white for whole wheat bread and slowly incorporate other whole grain foods, you can definitely succeed. As parents, we want to make sure that our kids are getting enough fiber, vitamins, and minerals by including whole grains in their diet.
For my family, most new things, like switching to whole grains, takes time. This can be a good reason to start your kids on whole grain foods, when they are young. Offering whole grains to your family early on, instead of trying to switch them to these healthier foods when they are older, can make it easier. Remember to be patient with your kids as you start new healthy habits in your family.
What whole grains do you offer your family now? Are there any new grains you would like to try? Let us know!