Whole Grain-Rich With Knowledge

What does it mean?

According to Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), “foods that meet the whole-grain rich criteria are foods that contain at least 50% whole grains and the remaining grains in the food are enriched, or are 100% whole grain. 

Whole Grain-Rich vs Enriched vs Refined?

You’ve probably heard of refined grains, and are wondering, what’s the difference between this and whole grains? Is there a difference?

The answer…yes! 

In the graphic below, you can see whole grain kernels compared to refined kernels. The whole grain ones are composed of three parts of three parts:

  • Bran
    • Filled with fiber
    • Contains Vitamin B and minerals
  • Endosperm
    • Starchy carb
    • Has some proteins and vitamins
  • Germ
    • Packed with nutrients
    • Contains Vitamins B and E
    • Comprises of phytochemicals and minerals
    • Has healthy fats

When whole grains are refined, the bran and germ are stripped from the kernels, leaving only the endosperm. This makes the grain easier to chew, however only leaves the endosperm behind. All of the nutrients and healthy fats have been stripped away leaving very few proteins and vitamins left, along with starchy carbs.


With all of the nutrients that made grain so healthy in the first place now stripped away, many grains are now enriched – meaning many of those missing nutrients are now added back!

The chart below offers some insights of how all the nutrients looks compared between whole grain, enriched, and refined.


Guide to Grains

Having trouble looking for whole grains? Here are some great options to utilize:

  • Brown Rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Quinoa
  • Rye
  • Oats
  • Sorghum
  • Wheat Berries
  • Wild Rice