Recommended Amount of Grains

The Australian Dietary Guidelines encourage Australians to eat a variety of grain foods as part of a healthy diet. A factsheet has been developed to help explain the Australian Dietary Guidelines for grain foods. To download a copy click here.

Recommendations on the type of grains and how much to eat
The guidelines recommend people ‘eat a variety of grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley.’  Refined core grain foods, like white rice and pasta, can be enjoyed as long as other grains in your day are whole grain or high fibre.

Table 1 lists the minimum number of serves of core grain foods recommended each day.  People who are taller than average or more active will need more.

Identifying core grain foods
Choose core grain foods first:

  • Core grain foods including breads, breakfast cereals, crispbreads, rice, pasta and noodles are primary contributors of fibre, thiamin, magnesium and iron in the Australian diet.
  • Non-core grain foods are high in salt, fat or added sugar, including cakes, pastries, biscuits, chips, pies and sausage rolls.
  • Refined core grain foods including white bread, rice, and pasta are core grain foods and may be included if the other grain foods in your day are whole grain or high fibre.

How much is a ‘serve’ of grain-based food?

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating defines a serve as:

  • 1 slice bread / flat bread (about 40g)
  • ½ medium roll (about 40g)
  • ½ cup cooked polenta, rice, pasta, noodles barley, buckwheat, semolina, polenta or quinoa (75 – 120g)
  • ½ cup cooked porridge
  • ⅔ cup wheat cereal flakes (30g)
  • ¼ cup muesli (30g)
  • ¼ cup flour (30g)
  • 3 crispbreads (35g)
  • 1 crumpet (60g) or small English muffin or scone (35g)

Putting it all together
It’s easy to get 6 serves of grain foods every day, and with a little planning, easily make half of them whole grain or high fibre. This leaves room for some refined grains such as white rice, white pasta and white bread.

GLNC recommends people enjoy grain foods 3 – 4 times a day, choosing at least half as whole grain or high fibre.

Check out these simple meal ideas and see for yourself.

Meal plan
Get creative to ensure you eat a variety of different grains in your diet, everyday. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Vary your breakfast routine regularly – try porridge, wholegrain wheat or bran cereals, or toasted spelt bread
  • Add barley to soups and casseroles
  • Snack on whole grain crackers with hummus or crispbread with avocado
  • Have your stir-fry with brown rice
  • Enjoy popped corn (no salt) as a quick and easy snack
  • Try one of the pseudo-cereals – quinoa makes a great salad or a tasty soup like Chunky Quinoa Soup
  • Check out some quick and easy recipes Pork and Plum Cous Cous, or Moroccan Lamb Rice with Almonds

For more information on the Australian Dietary Guidelines click here.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines are general recommendations for healthy people. For individual nutrition and dietary advice see an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD). To find a dietitian near you visit the Dietitians Association of Australia.