7 Tons of Whole Grains Donated to Worthy Causes

“Giveaway” and other programs celebrate Whole Grains Month in September

Boston, August 27, 2008 – September is Whole Grains Month, and to celebrate its observance, members of the Whole Grains Council are donating at least seven tons of whole grain foods to schools, food pantries, Meals on Wheels, homeless shelters, and others who might not otherwise have access to healthy whole grains.

“Seven tons is only the beginning,” said Kara Berrini, Program Manager for the Whole Grains Council (WGC). “Our Whole Grains Giveaway has barely begun, and we’re delighted with the fast pace of early donations.” Berrini expects the final tally of donations will be far higher, as pledges continue to roll in throughout September and October from the 204 members of the WGC.

A final total will be announced in early November, but in the meantime, a running total and details of each donation are being logged on the WGC website. Contributing companies to date include Caravan Ingredients, CCF Brands, Cream of Wheat, Dr. Kracker, Frontier Soups, Gak’s Snacks (HomeFree), Indian Harvest Specialtifoods, King Arthur Flour, Mary’s Gone Crackers, Mestemacher / Carl Brandt, Minute Rice, Shiloh Farms, and Sunnyland Mills.

The Whole Grains Giveaway is just one of many Whole Grains Month programs organized by the WGC and Oldways, its parent organization. Others include:

• The Whole Grains Store Tour, a downloadable kit of resources to help supermarket dietitians introduce their customers to the health benefits of whole grains, and learn how to identify whole grain products.

• Friends of Whole Grains, a new online forum where consumers can exchange tips, recipes and questions about whole grains.

• The Whole Grains Challenge, the WGC’s second annual contest for restaurants and foodservice serving at least one whole grain choice at all times. Winners in each of ten categories will be announced in early November.

• Just Ask for Whole Grains, an ongoing program to support health organizations and schools in educating others about whole grains and health. The WGC supplies materials at no charge to qualified educational organizations from diabetes clinics and senior centers to the Special Olympics.

“We’re asking everyone in America to eat one more whole grain every day in September,” said Sara Baer-Sinnott, Executive Vice President of Oldways. “Make a batch of popcorn, dish up some whole-grain cereal, or enjoy bulgur or brown rice at dinner. Look for the Whole Grain Stamp when you shop.”

The WGC created the popular Whole Grain Stamp, an eye-catching black and gold symbol now seen on more than 2,100 products in five countries. The Whole Grain Stamp makes it quick and easy to find products containing at least half a serving of whole grains. To inspire Americans, the WGC has also compiled a list of easy whole grain ideas, attached to this news release (see below).

For more information or hi-res photos, contact Cynthia Harriman, Director of Food and Nutrition Strategies for Oldways and the Whole Grains Council. 617.896.4820 or cynthia@oldwayspt.org.

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About Oldways and the Whole Grains Council

The Whole Grains Council is a nonprofit consumer advocacy group working to increase consumption of whole grains for better health. The Whole Grains Council’s many initiatives help consumers to find whole grain foods and understand their health benefits; help manufacturers to create delicious whole grain products; and help the media to create accurate, compelling stories about whole grains.

Oldways is the widely-respected nonprofit “food issues think tank” praised for translating the complex details of nutrition science into consumer-friendly health-promotion tools. Best known for developing the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid, Oldways develops and organizes a wide variety of programs and materials about healthy, traditional and sustainable food choices for consumers, scientists, the food industry, health professionals, chefs, journalists and policy makers.

You can learn more about the Whole Grains Council at www.wholegrainscouncil.org and about Oldways, its parent organization, at www.oldwayspt.org.

Easy Ideas for Whole Grains Month

Why Didn’t I Think of That?
Ideas for Celebrating Whole Grains Month

September is Whole Grains Month, and the Whole Grains Council wants to take a moment to encourage you to get out of your rut and get more whole grains!

All too often, we fall into ruts — eating the same things, day in and day out. It’s easy to do because repeating our food choices saves us from having to examine our pantries and refrigerators and wonder, “What will I eat today?” Today, though, there are so many delicious whole grain options to try, so many different products to choose from, that experimenting with whole grain goodness is not only just as easy, it can be even more rewarding — to your palate and your health!

Experts recommend that all of us eat three servings or more of whole grains daily, and every little bit counts: a slice of bread, a bowl of oatmeal, brown rice at dinner, even popcorn at the movies.

So if you feel it’s time for a change, time to shake things up a bit and try something new, the Whole Grains Council has some ideas to share for every meal of the day.

Step away from that box of cold cereal and start your day off with one of these alternatives:

· Mix leftover brown rice together with a teaspoon of honey, warm it in the microwave, and top with fresh fruit and walnut pieces for a healthy hot breakfast.

· Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so don’t skip it, just ‘cause you’re in a rush! Whole grain breakfast bars, granola bars, and breakfast pastries are great for eating on the go.

· On weekends, gather your family at the table for a wholesome home-cooked breakfast of whole grain pancakes, waffles, or French toast made with whole grain bread. Kids love surprises, so try topping these griddle favorites with fresh fruit or dust with baker’s cocoa and serve with a tall glass of juice or low-fat milk.

There are lots of ways to shake up the three S’s  — soup, salad, or sandwich — with more whole grains, when it’s time for lunch:

· Whole grains or whole grain pastas are great in soups. Add a handful of pre-cooked grains or pasta to your home-made soups or to your favorite canned soups, for an extra nutrient boost.

· Make a great salad, from leftover whole grains tossed with dressing and fresh chopped veggies from your grocery store or farmer’s market. Think quinoa with green beans and sun-dried tomatoes, or wheat berries with colorful peppers and summer squash. Enjoyed by themselves or atop your favorite field greens, whole grain salads are a great value and a great-tasting way to feel full until dinner.

· Pack your sandwich full of essential nutrients with whole grain breads, rolls, pitas, and wraps. Toast your whole grain bread at home before you leave, and it will stand up to a microwave tuna melt at work. Or, regress to childhood and make yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread (crusts optional). Stuff a whole wheat pita with your favorite fillings to keep your fingers clean and your stomach full.

· Many quick-serve restaurants and delis would be happy to make your favorite sandwich on whole grain bread or with a whole grain wrap. Just ask for a whole grain option and make your healthy lunch even healthier!

Whole grains make great sides, but they take center stage with these dinner ideas everyone can enjoy.

· Next time you grill up burgers or hot dogs, serve them on whole grain buns. There’s something for everyone, from buns made with a blend of whole and refined grains to 100% whole grains. Or get creative and serve your burger on whole grain bagels or English muffins for a change of pace.

· Breakfast for dinner? When it’s too hot to cook, your favorite whole grain cereals can satisfy without raising the temperature in your kitchen. Mix two varieties together and create your own unique blend, or slice up fresh fruit like bananas and strawberries for a tasty and nutritious meal — it only seems like you’re spoiling yourself!

· Adding extra flavor to brown rice or other cooked grains is easy. Substitute half or all the water with vegetable or chicken broth to give your grains a rounder, fuller flavor. Or skip the broth and add spices like thyme, parsley, and pepper, or toss in a whole clove of garlic to keep things interesting while keeping sodium to a minimum.

· Some of the most comforting dinners can incorporate whole grains without changing the taste or performance of your recipes. Make your baked macaroni and cheese with blended whole and refined pastas, then top with whole grain breadcrumbs for that memorable crunchy crust. Broil fresh fish and serve it over a bed of wild and brown rice. Serve your family’s favorite stews with home-made whole wheat biscuits to mop up all the good juices.

These ideas for Whole Grains Month are brought to you by the Whole Grains Council. Visit our website at www.WholeGrainsCouncil.org for more information about the health benefits of whole grains, and for great recipes. Contact Kara Berrini (kberrini@oldwayspt.org or 617.896.4820) for more information.