Authors as Published

Elena Serrano, Associate Professor, Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise. (


AgeX  Children 7-10X Children 11-14X  Mixed AgesVirginia Standards of Learning
English 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 6.2, 7.1
Health 3.1, 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, 6.2, 7.1, 7.23
Setting   Classroom    CampX     Either
Location   OutsideX Indoors     Either

Project Skill: Exploring grains and fiber in foods

Success Indictors: As a result of this activity, students will be able to:

  • earn different grains found in familiar foods
  • understand the importance of whole grains and fiber in a healthy diet
  • choose a whole grain snack food

Life Skills: Decision-making, Marketable skills, Teamwork

Preparation Time: Collect grains for the activity.


  • Note cards
  • Boxes or bags of grain-based snacks
  • Different grains
  • MyPlate:

Optional Handouts:

Label Literacy (VCE publication 348-247)


  1. Ask students to name foods from the Grains Group that they eat for snacks. List these on a flipchart or chalkboard.
  2. Show different samples of grains and pass them around the room in baggies, asking the children to touch and play with the grains. Explain that the snacks are made with these grains.
  3. Set up some stations with different packages from snacks made from grains. Have students visit each station quietly and identify which grain is used to make the snack. They can write it down on note cards or you can use this as a game of “concentration” – asking them to try to remember them.
  4. Once all the children have visited the tables, go over the correct responses. As you say which grain belongs to which product, walk the bag of grain to the product and set it down there for students to see.
  5. Using those foods as examples, play Grain Jeopardy or use some of the fun facts included on the previous page.
  6. Explain why whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet.


 List some mixed dishes that use different grains.

  • Reinforce MyPlate and making healthy choices in the grains group.

Other Ideas:

  • Use the Label Literacy handout to compare fiber in different grain-based foods.
  • Have the children taste-test different foods made with whole grains.
  • Combine with a geography lesson and have them look into where different grains are grown or what types of grains are eaten in different cultures.
  • Tie this topic in with a math lesson. Compare the cost by the pound of unprocessed foods and processed foods.
  • Make tortillas from masa or granola from oats.
Whole grains are a great source of fiber and B vitamins.

Examples of snacks made with grains:

  • Pretzels
  • Tortilla chips
  • Cereal
  • Corn chips
  • Baked chips
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Cornbread

Examples of grains:

  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Barley
  • Oats
  • Rice


  • What did you do in this activity?
  • What did you like about this activity?


  • What did you learn from this activity?
  • Where do grains fit into MyPlate?
  • What other foods besides whole grains are high in fiber?
  • Which snack foods are high in fiber?
  • What were you surprised about, as a result of this activity?


  • Why is it important to learn about the importance of whole-grain foods and fiber?
  • What are some healthy snacks?
  • List some whole-grain snack foods you can buy on your own and that you like.


  • How will you eat more whole grains now?

This publication was partially funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition assistance to people with low incomes. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more, contact your local county or city Department of Social Services (phone listed under city/county government).  For help finding a local number, call toll-free: 1-800-552-3431 (M-F 8:15-5:00, except holidays).  By calling your local DSS office, you can get other useful information about services.  
In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, age, disability, or political beliefs.
To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call, toll free, (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
This publication was partially funded by the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program, USDA, CSREES.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

December 13, 2011