5 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Whole Grains (and a Giveaway)

By | March 11, 2015

5 Ways to Get Your Child to Eat More Whole Grains


I think we all know by now that eating whole grains is beneficial for your health.  They can help you feel fuller for longer, which can help you maintain your weight.  In addition, whole grains have been proven to lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease.  Despite the many health benefits of whole grains, it can be difficult to get your children to eat them.  If your kids are anything like mine, they may outright revolt if you try to serve them whole grain bread or brown rice.  Over the years, I learned some tricks to make the transition from refined grains to whole grains a little easier.

5 ways to add more whole grains to your family’s meals

Make the switch to white whole wheat bread. I know the first time I tried to give my kids whole wheat bread, they had a fit. The brown color was off-putting and they wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole. However, I quickly learned that there are varieties of wheat that make lighter colored bread.

If you buy bread at the store, look for breads that are labeled “white whole wheat” and make sure that whole grain wheat flour is listed as the first ingredient.

If you make your own bread, use white whole wheat flour, which will result in a finished bread that is more similar to the white bread most kids prefer.  If you make your own bread and grind your own flour, use hard white wheat berries.

Transition to whole wheat pasta slowly.  Whole grain pasta can be a little nuttier in flavor and a little chewier than regular pasta.  If you use regular pasta, start substituting whole wheat pasta a little at a time.  At first maybe use only 25% whole grain pasta and the rest regular pasta.  If your kids eat that without complaint, then up the ratio to 50% whole wheat pasta.

When you are first starting the transition to whole wheat pasta, you might find it easier to use it in dishes that have a sauce that will cover up the color of the whole wheat pasta.

Make the switch from white rice to brown rice.  As with the pasta, you can start by substituting part of the white rice for brown rice and then work your way up to using only brown rice.

Hide whole grains in some of your kids favorite meals.  I am not above getting sneaky to get my kids to eat whole grains.  For example, use oatmeal as a binder in your meatloaf recipe, add some barley to your vegetable soup recipe, or mix quinoa into your taco meat.  Again, start with small quantities and then up the amount as your kids get used to it.

Oatmeal makes a great start to the day.  It will help them feel fuller for longer than regular breakfast cereal and is a great source of fiber as well.  If your kids won’t eat regular cooked oatmeal (like 2 of my picky kids), you can try refrigerator overnight oats or yogurt topped with granola.

New Van's Whole Grain Pasta Side Dishes and Granola Clusters

If you are struggling to get your kids to eat more whole grains, then I have some great news for you.  Van’s has come out with some yummy new pasta side dishes and granola clusters that are chock-full of whole grains.  Our family was blessed to get to try the new varieties and they were a huge hit with my kids.

New Van's Whole Grain Pasta Side Dishes are a delicious way to get your kids to eat more whole grains.

Van’s Whole Grain Pasta Side Dishes

Side dishes can be a great way to get your child to eat another serving of whole grains.  Van’s has three new whole grain pasta side dish varieties – Creamy Herb and Garlic Pasta, Ultimate Cheddar Penne, and Rotini & Red Sauce Pasta.  All three varieties contain at least 28 grams of whole grains and are gluten free.  In addition, these pasta side dishes contain no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, no preservatives, and no high fructose corn syrup.  As a mom who tries to make sure her family eats as healthy as possible, I really appreciate that.

I love that Van’s new pasta side dishes only take 10 minutes to make.  They are great for hectic weekday nights when my kids have evening activities.  The Creamy Herb and Garlic Pasta went great with a rotisserie chicken I picked up at the grocery store.  I had dinner on the table in 15 minutes!

We added some ground beef to the Rotini and Red Sauce pasta to make it a complete meal.  Our whole family always enjoys spaghetti, so this was a great way to turn the side dish into a complete meal.  All we had to add was a vegetable.

It was no surprise to me that my kids’ favorite was the Ultimate Cheddar Penne.  They absolutely love mac and cheese, so they gobbled this right up.

We really enjoyed all three of the new Van’s Whole Grain Pasta Side Dishes.  They will be great to keep on hand for nights when I don’t have a lot of time to get dinner on the table.

New Van's Whole Grain Granola Clusters are a delicious way to get your kids to eat more whole grains.

Van’s Granola Clusters

We were also blessed to get to try Van’s new Granola clusters, which come is 2 different varieties:  Blueberry Walnut and Cranberry Almond.  Both varieties have 12 grams of whole grains.  Like the pasta, the granola clusters don’t have any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.  They are also free of high fructose corn syrup.

My daughters really have been enjoying the granola clusters on yogurt for breakfast and also as an afternoon snack. Unlike other granola products which are hard and crunchy, Van’s Granola Clusters are soft and chewy.   Both varieties are absolutely yummy with just the perfect touch of sweetness.

Enter to win three free product coupons to try new Van's Whole Grain Pasta Side Dishes or Granola Clusters. The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends March 19, 2015.

Want to try these new whole grain foods for yourself?  Van’s Foods would like to bless one lucky A Heart Full of Love reader with three free Van’s product coupons so they can try the newest Van’s products. Enter for your chance to win through the Rafflecopter form below. Entry is open to US residents age 18 and older only and the giveaway ends March 19, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

88 thoughts on “5 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Whole Grains (and a Giveaway)

  1. Lynne

    I would most like to try the Creamy Herb and Garlic pasta side. That wouldn’t be my husband’s first choice (ha!) but I am a garlic lover, and I could use this in my work lunches. The clusters is a hard choice – because I really, really love blueberries, but I am not a big walnut fan – so I think I would be more likely to enjoy the cranberry and almond variety, so that is the one I would choose.

    Reply
  2. Linda Kish

    I would like to try the Ultimate Cheddar Penne (I like mac & cheese) and Blueberry Walnut Granola clusters (It looks and sounds so good).

    Reply
  3. Cheryl

    I’d most like to try Ultimate Cheddar Penne because I’m a cheese lover and Blueberry Walnut Granola clusters because they’re both heart-healthy ingredients.

    Reply
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  5. Seyma Shabbir

    I would love to try the Ultimate Cheddar penne because my kids love mac and cheese and I want to see how healthy and tasty this is!

    Reply
  6. Seyma Shabbir

    I would love to try the cranberry almond clusters because I LOVE almonds more than walnuts so this sounds perfect!

    Reply
  7. peggy greco

    I would like rotini with red sauce for a delicious quick meal. I would like to try blueberry walnut granola clusters because I love fruit and nut flavors to snack on anytime.

    Reply
  8. Ashley Smith

    I would like to try the Ultimate Cheddar Penne, it looks so yummy! I also would like to try the Blueberry Walnut Clusters, that would go great in my yogurt!

    Reply
  9. Elliott E.

    I can’t go back to put in my mailing address. I did the name and entered but couldn’t do the actual address. Could you somehow change this as I’m certain others might do the same thing.

    Reply
  10. Vee

    Would love the Creamy Herb and Garlic pasta side because I love garlic flavored anything! And the Blueberry Walnut granola sounds amazing

    Reply
  11. Amy Pratt

    I would like to try the Cheddar Penne and Cranberry Almond clusters.

    Reply
  12. Virginia Rowell

    I am a cheese lover so I would try the cheddar penne and the Blueberry walnut sound delish.

    Reply
  13. Natalie

    I would love to try the Creamy Herb and Garlic Pasta and the blueberry walnut granola.

    Reply
  14. Jessica M.

    My kids would most likely love the ultimate cheddar penne pasta and the blueberry walnut granola!

    Reply
  15. Candice

    I would like to try the Ultimate Cheddar Penne and Blueberry Clusters because they both look like flavors I would like.

    Reply
  16. Sara M

    I’d really like to try the cranberry almond. That is one of my favorite flavor combinations. Sweet, tart cranberries are delicious!

    Reply
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  18. Lisa

    I’d love to try the Creamy Herb and Garlic pasta and the Bluberry Walnut granola, everything sounds amazing though!

    Reply
  19. Amanda Kinder

    I’d love to try the Ultimate Cheddar Penne (I love cheese), and Cranberry Almond. I love cranberries and almonds together.

    Reply
  20. Barbara Montag

    I’m love to try the Rotini and Red Sauce Pasta.
    This would be great with chicken!
    I also like the Blueberry Walnut Clusters.
    thank you

    Reply
  21. chris mills

    i would like to try the Ultimate Cheddar house Pasta blend and i would also like to try the cranberry almond granolla

    Reply
  22. ELIZABETH C.

    I would love to try the Creamy Herb and Garlic Pasta. They all sound great but creamy herb & garlic sounds like the flavor I would enjoy the most! I also choose the Cranberry Almond. I love cranberries so it would definately be my choice.

    Reply
  23. Kelly Nicholson

    Leave me a comment below telling me which variety of pasta side and which variety of granola clusters you would most like to try and why

    i want the whole grain pasta because i likes to eat healthy..nuff saud thanks

    Reply
  24. Betty B

    I would love to try the ultimate cheddar penne I think my kids and I would enjoy it! Also would love to try the cranberry almond granola cluster it sounds like a wonderful pairing!

    Reply
  25. Kelly D

    I would like to try the Ultimate Cheddar Penne and the Blueberry Walnut Granola because I think my kids would like those the most.

    Reply
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  27. Michelle Adkins

    I would love to try the Rotini and Red Sauce pasta and the Blueberry Walnut granola.

    Reply
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  29. alaine

    I’d love the blueberry walnut granola and the ultimate cheddar penne!

    Reply
  30. alaine

    Whoops! Forgot to say why!
    I love blueberries and think itwould be a great addition to granola
    Also, my son is huge fan of anything cheddar so he would be all over the penne!

    Reply
  31. Linda G.

    I would like to try the creamy herb and garlic, sounds yummy and I like garlic!!! I would like to try the cranberry almond gronola

    Reply
  32. Theresa N

    I’d like to try the Creamy Herb and Garlic Pasta and the Cranberry Almond.

    Reply
  33. Jeffrey

    I would like to try the Ultimate Cheddar House pasta blend. i would want to try this one because the pasta already has the cheese on it. I would also like to try the cranberry almond granolla because cranberries are considered to be rich in antioxidents and so are very healthy for you.

    Reply
  34. Heidi B

    I would love to try the blueberry walnut granola and the creamy herb and garlic pasta.

    Reply
  35. Kris O

    I would love to try the Cranberry Almond granola clusters because they are my favorite flavors. The Ultimate Cheddar Penne looks yummy; I sometimes miss mac & cheese. We love Van’s products, they are of great quality!

    Reply
  36. sandra

    I’d like to try the ultimate cheddar penne because I think my kids will like that most. I also want to try the cranberry almond granola because I like almonds and dried cranberries better than blueberries

    Reply
  37. Angela W

    I would like to try the Ultimate Cheddar house Pasta blend. Sounds delicious!

    Reply
  38. Rhonda

    I would love to try the Creamy Herb and Garlic Pasta. The Cranberry Almond granola clusters looks delicious as well.

    Reply
  39. ken ohl

    the blueberry walnut granola I would love to try and the ultimate cheddar house pasta blend. thankyou, ken

    Reply
  40. Pat

    I’d like to try the Rotini & Red Sauce Pasta because rotini is a favorite type of pasta. I would also like to try Blueberry Walnut Clusters because I like both blueberries and walnuts.

    Reply
  41. Laura

    I would like to try the Creamy Herb and Garlic Pasta and the Cranberry Almond Granola because they both sound delicious! Separately, not together of course lol

    Reply
  42. Iliana R

    I would love to try the herb and garlic pasta because I love anything with garlic and I would love to try the blueberry walnut clusters because I love blueberries!

    Reply
  43. Kristi

    I would like to try the Blueberry Walnut clusters, because I love anything blueberry! The pasta side dish that interests me is the Creamy Herb and Garlic because I am interested how creamy it is. I am not a big fan of creamy pasta dishes, but I do love garlic.

    Reply
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  45. Crystal Rose

    I’d like to try the creamy herb & garlic pasta and the blueberry walnut clusters.

    Reply
  46. Maryann D.

    I would really like to try the Ultimate Cheddar Penne and the Blueberry Walnut granola blend.

    Reply
  47. Catherine H

    I would love to try the Ultimate Cheddar Penne and the Cranberry Almond granola clusters. I LOVE Van’s stuff — So yummy!

    Reply
  48. Lauren Olivia Wood

    I would like to try the Rotini and Red Sauce and the Cranberry Almond Granola!

    Reply
  49. Stacy

    I would like to try the Rotini and Red Sauce because it looks like the only one without dairy (although if it does have dairy my husband would still love it) and I would like to try the Blueberry Walnut granola clusters because walnuts are my favorite nut and they look delicious.

    Reply
  50. Cori Westphal

    The Ultimate Cheddar Penne would be first on my list! Mac and cheese but done right! And something I’d feel good about giving to my family! And I think the Blueberry Walnut clusters would be delicious. Something different than the regular granola we’re used to!

    Reply
  51. Julie L

    I’d like the Blueberry walnut and the creamy herb and garlic!

    Reply
  52. brandy c

    I’d like to try the Rotini and Red Sauce because I love red sauce the most. The Blueberry granola would be great because I love the taste of blueberry.

    Reply
  53. chickie brewer

    I would like to try the Blueberry Walnut granola blend, and the Ultimate Cheddar Penne.

    Reply
  54. Ed

    Creamy Herb & Garlic would be my pasta choice. The Blueberry Walnut Granola Clusters intrigue me.

    Reply
  55. sara wood

    I want to try the creamy herb and garlic pasta and blueberry walnut clusters.

    Reply
  56. Amanda D

    I would like to try the Ultimate Cheddar house Pasta blend, and think we would also like the Blueberry Walnut clusters. Those both sound delicious.

    Reply
  57. Starla B

    I have always heard great things about Vans Foods. I would love to try the creamy herb and garlic past and also the blueberry walnut granola. I think this would pair perfectly with greek yogurt!

    Reply
  58. Annemarie Z.

    I would love to try the Ultimate Cheese Penne because I love cheesy pasta! I would like to try the Cranberry Almond Granola Clusters because I love cranberries!

    Reply
  59. Melanie Montgomery

    Creamy garlic penne sounds amazing, and blueberry granola sounds good.

    Reply
  60. Nancy

    I’d like to try the Rotini and Red Sauce Pasta. I would also like to try their Cranberry Almond Granola Clusters.

    Reply
  61. Jennifer Reed

    I would choose to try the Ultimate Cheddar Pasta Blend and the Blueberry Walnut Granola Blend if given a choice. I am a huge cheddar fan so this side dish sounds nice. I also know that my family would love the blueberries in the granola so it seems like a great variety.

    Reply
  62. Annamarie V

    I would like to try the Creamy Herb and Garlic pasta and the Cranberry Almond granola clusters.

    Reply
  63. Michelle Tucker

    I’d like to try the creamy herb and garlic. I think it’d go with chicken well, which is something we eat a lot of. I’d also like to try the Blueberry Walnut, because I LOVE blueberries. 🙂

    Reply
  64. Shakeia Rieux

    I would love to try the blueberry walnut granola cluster because it’s good to have for a healthy snack and I love everything it has in it

    Reply
  65. Elissa Mahler

    The Cheddar House pasta and the blueberry based granola sound divine!

    Reply
  66. Pamela Michelle

    I would like to try the Ultimate Cheddar house Pasta blend because I love cheese!

    Reply
  67. Danielle G

    I’d love to try the creamy garlic and herb pasta because anything creamy and garlic has to be delicious! I would choose the blueberry clusters to try because I just love blueberries, especially combined with granola!

    Reply
  68. Trish

    I would love to try the Creamy Herb and Garlic Pasta and the Blueberry Clusters.

    Reply
  69. Lyndsey

    I would love to try the Ultimate Cheddar Penne because we love mac-n-cheese and I want to see how healthy this is and if it still taste good!

    Reply
  70. Susan Smith

    I would like to try the Ultimate Cheddar Penne, because I love cheddar cheese. I would like to try the Blueberry Walnut Clusters because I love blueberries.

    Reply
  71. Laurie Nykaza

    I would like to try the Ultimate Cheddar Penne my kids would love it they like cheddar cheese my son has Celiacs disease so he can enjoy it! Cranberry Almond Granola Clusters sounds good I love cranberries so much.

    Reply
  72. Leela

    I would like to try the Ultimate Cheddar Penne because I love cheese and the Gluten Free Granola
    Cranberry Almond. I love cranberries and almonds.

    Reply
  73. breanna pollard

    I would love to try the Ultimate Cheddar Penne because cheese is great on everything! The Blueberry Walnut Granola clusters because I have never dried them before.

    Reply
  74. Carolyn Daley

    I would love to try the Ultimate Cheddar Penne pasta first because I imagine it would taste similar to regular mac and cheese. The first clusters I would choose to try is the Blueberry Walnut. I like cranberries, but not nearly as much as blueberries.

    Reply
  75. Rene Chartier

    The children would love the Ultimate Cheddar house Pasta blend

    Reply
  76. james jenkins

    I would like to try Blueberry Walnut granola and Ultimate Cheddar because they are among my favorites and sound delicious!

    Reply
  77. shea balentine

    I’d like to try the creamy herb and garlic pasta and the cranberry almond clusters!

    Reply

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