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Making Healthy Choices

In support of the Ottawa Food Bank’s “Supporting Wellness at Pantries” (SWAP) Project, this section will focus on providing information to help with healthy grain choices.

Grains are an important source of nutrients including energy, fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Common grains include:

  • wheat (durum, spelt, farro, freekeh, bulgur, cracked wheat),

  • rice (brown, red, black, long, and short grain, basmati, wild), and

  • corn (popcorn and whole corn meal)

Foods with grains as the main ingredient can be whole grain or refined grain:


  • bread, tortillas, pita, biscuit, crackers, muffins, waffles, bagels,

  • pasta, couscous, noodles, and

  • rice

  • cereals, granola

Whole grains are preferred.  They are a good source of fibre and help you feel full longer!


How to rank grains using SWAP?

Check the 1st ingredient in the ingredient list, then check the saturated fat, sodium, and sugar levels.       


For Nutrients you want more of:

Source of, High or Very High, Good or Excellent source

For Nutrients you want less of:

Free, Low, Reduced

Spaghetti Comparisons Example

Both fall under the green category for saturated fat, sugar and sodium however the 1st ingredient in the 1st example is not a wholegrain, so the product categorized as yellow.


SWAP was developed by the Institute for Hunger Research & Solutions at Connecticut Food Bank/Foodshare.

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