My Plate tells us that one fourth of our plate should be grains and also half of our grains should be whole grains. What exactly are grains? Any food made with wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another grain. Some examples would be bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas and grits. What is the difference between grains and a whole grain? Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel—the bran, germ and endosperm. Examples include whole-wheat flour, cracked wheat, oatmeal, whole cornmeal and brown rice.What are the health benefits to making half your grains whole grains? Eating whole grains may reduce the risk of heart disease, help with weight management, and reduce constipation. Grains are important sources of many nutrients, including dietary fiber, several B vitamins and minerals. How do you tell if it is really a whole grain? You have to read the ingredient list to find out. If it starts with a whole grain ingredient, it is most likely a whole grain. Package claims might include 100% whole grain, Excellent Source of Whole Grain or Made with Whole Grain. Is it heart healthy? Some of the crackers and breads do not meet this guideline - they are too high in fat, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium. 5% or less of the daily value is optimal for saturated fat and sodium and 0 is the goal for trans fat. Is it not too calorie dense? Foods with added sugar and fat are often very calorie dense. So, the cookies, sweetened cereal and donuts won’t get past this question.