Grains (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties food group

Grains and pasta image

 

The grain (cereal) foods (mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties) food group encompasses four main grains groups:

  • Breads

  • Breakfast cereals

  • Grains (rye, barley, quinoa, polenta, semolina etc.) and

  • Other products (pasta, noodles, couscous, flour, popcorn, English muffins and crumpets).

These grains groups vary in nutrient-density, for example wholegrain breads and cereal foods such as oats are highly nutrient-dense, while foods such as white rice, bread, pasta and noodles have lower nutrient-density. 

While 97% of Australians consumed some sort of cereal or grains food in the most recent National Health Survey,1 most Australians consume too many refined (or white) grains which are lower in nutrients. Foods chosen from this group should be mainly wholegrain as they possess the greatest amount of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Refined cereal foods such as white bread have many of these important nutrients lost during processing, and some tend to be high in sodium or sugar.

The foods in this group provide a wide range of nutrients that contribute to a balanced diet, including carbohydrates, protein, fibre and many vitamins and minerals including folate, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and a range of phytochemicals including lignans. The Australian Dietary Guidelines state that consumption of wholegrain sources of these foods is associated with a reduced risk of weight gain, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and colorectal cancer. There is also evidence that cereals and wholegrain foods are beneficial for a healthy digestive system, due to the dietary fibre they contain.2


Serve recommendations

 
Age group 
Serves
Men 

19–50

6

 

51–70

6

 

70+

4.5

Women

19–50

6

 

51–70

4

 

70+

3

 

Pregnant

8.5

 

Breastfeeding <18

 

Breastfeeding >18

9

Children

 1–2 y/o boys and girls

4

 

2–3 y/o boys and girls

4

 

4–8 y/o boys and girls

4

 

9–11 y/o boys

5

 

9–11 y/o girls

4

 

12–13 y/o boys

6

 

12–13 y/o girls

5

 

14–18 y/o boys and girls

7

Adapted from the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines.

A standard serve is equivalent to:

  • 1 slice (40g) bread

  • ½ medium (40g) roll or flat bread

  • ½ cup (75–120g) cooked rice, pasta, noodles, barley, buckwheat, semolina, polenta, bulgur or quinoa

  • 1/2 cup (120g) cooked porridge

  • 2/3 cup (30g) wheat cereal flakes

  • ¼ cup (30g) muesli

  • 3 (35g) crispbreads

  • 1 (60g) crumpet

  • 1 small (35g) English muffin or scone.3

Use the Nutrition Calculator to calculate recommended serves of the five food groups for each age and gender group.

Links

The Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council website has further information about the grain (cereal) foods (mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties) food group.

Some useful resources about this food group are available here:

• Several useful factsheets on grain foods

• The whole grain content claim: Establishing an industry standard 

• Grain foods and legumes: An updated on changes to the Australian Dietary Guidelines  

• Lifting the lid on legumes: The benefits of choosing legumes






1 Australian Bureau of Statistics [Internet]. Canberra: ABS; 2015. Australian Health Survey: Usual Nutrient Intakes, 2011-2012. Cat 4364.0.55.007. [updated 2015 Dec 21; cited 2016 Feb 16]. Available: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4364.0.55.007main+features12011-12

2 National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra, Commonwealth of Australia; 2013.

3 National Health and Medical Research Council (2015). National Health and Medical Research Council. Grains (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high fibre cereal varieties [Internet]. Canberra, Commonwealth of Australia, 2015.  Available: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/five-food-groups/grain-cereal-foods-mostly-wholegrain-and-or-high-cereal-fibre