Monday, December 5, 2011

2011 Go 4 Grains Kids Design Challenge

New grain recipe and promotion ideas from young minds

It was a hot day on the 14th of November when over 200 students came together at Hurlstone Agricultural High School, Sydney to show a panel of judges their ideas for encouraging other kids to eat 4+ serves of grain food each day. The Celebration event was the culmination of months of hard work to design a nutritious grain based product for their school canteen or an advertising campaign to encourage healthy eating.

This was a small sample of the more than 1200 students across NSW that took part in this year’s Go 4 Grains Kids’ Design Challenge.  The Go 4 Grains Challenge required students to develop an innovative grain-based food product and/or advertising campaign targeting their peers which promotes the ‘4+ serves a day’ message.

There were some amazing campaigns and innovative ideas presented by the year 5 & 6 students. The students conducted surveys of their peers to gather data on their knowledge of grains, learnt about advertising campaigns and then put this together to develop a campaign of their own. There were many different creative ways of promoting the goodness of grains:  showbags, grain characters like the dread-locked ‘Bob Barley’, product packaging, radio jingles, posters and more.

Congratulations to the winners in this category:

Pitch with Impact Award
5/4C, Balgowlah Heights Public School

Creative Visuals Award
Senior O, Coogee Public School

Grain Growers Limited Best Overall Achievement Award
Senior A, Coogee Public School

Healthy Kids Association Encouragement Award
5/6F, Leumeah Public School

The food products developed by the year 7 & 8 students ranged from quesadillas, to risotto and rissoles as well as breakfast muesli in a cup for ‘girls on the go’. The judges were very impressed with the groups that had adapted recipes to add extra grains to a meal, like oat-based quesadillas with quinoa.  All of the recipes not only contributed towards the ‘4+ serves a day’ recommendation but were also suitable for sale in the school canteen meeting, with the children ensuring their product was not classified as an occasional ‘red’ food based on the NSW Healthy School Canteen Strategy Nutrition Criteria.

A shout out to the winners in this category:

Go Grains Health & Nutrition, Nutritious and Delicious Award
7TF, Asquith Girls’ High School  (Breakfast Cranachan)

Outstanding Food Product Development Award
8A, Bankstown Girls High School (Oat Quesadillas)

Pitch with Impact Award
8(4), Rooty Hill High School (Creamy Chicken Crepes)

Grain Growers Limited Creative Promotional Strategy Award
7TF, Asquith Girls High School (Risotto and Rissoles)

The Go4Grains Kids’ Design Challenge is a unique initiative targeting school children to raise awareness of the health benefits of eating at least four serves of bread, pasta, breakfast cereal, rice and noodles each day, preferably wholegrains.

The Challenge is supported by Go Grains Health & Nutrition (Go Grains), Grain Growers Association and the Healthy Kids Association (HKA), in collaboration with the Technology in Primary Schools (TiPS) teacher network and the NSW Department of Education & Training (DET).

Go Grains would like to thank their member organisations that donated items for the goodie bag each student took away from the day: Bakers Delight, Campbell Arnott’s, Goodman Fielder, Kellogg’s, Kurrajong Kitchen, Nestle and Sanitarium.

Breakfast Cranachan
Makes 6
150mL skim evaporated milk
½ cup castor sugar
300g low-fat plain yoghurt
1 lemon
3C mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
2T honey
300g 5 grain muesli mix

  1. Mix in a large bowl evaporated milk, sugar, yoghurt and the zest of a lemon and half its juice and whisk to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl lightly crush berries with a fork and stir in honey leaving extra to drizzle on top.
  3. Lightly toast 5 Grain Muesli Mix on an oven slide for 5mins on 200 degrees.
  4. When ready to serve spoon alternating layers of the muesli mix, berries and yoghurt into a tall plastic cup, continue until mixture runs out. Drizzle honey on top.

Tips: Try not to burn the muesli. If your yoghurt mixture is to citric for your liking add a cap full of vanilla.

Not all grains need be wholegrain

Review suggests a place for refined grain favourites

In Australia, the current dietary guidelines recommend “Eat plenty of cereals (including breads, rice, pasta, and noodles), preferably wholegrain”, however they do not give any recommendations about what proportion of cereal foods can still be consumed as refined grains.

At the Public Health Association of Australia National Food Futures conference in November, Assoc. Professor Peter Williams presented the findings from his scientific literature review of the evidence designed to answer the question: What proportion of refined grains can be consumed in a healthy diet? 

The literature review, commissioned by Go Grains, summarises the findings of 135 studies from the last ten years. The great majority found no associations between the intake of refined grain foods and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, weight gain or overall mortality

Of the 31 prospective cohort studies included in the review, only 5 reported refined grain intake to be associated with adverse health outcomes. Two of these used refined grains high in fat (pizza, cakes and biscuits). There was no association between higher refined grain intake and cardiovascular disease.  

Of the nine intervention studies included in the review, which largely studied the effect of wholegrain or low GI on cardiovascular or metabolic risk, six reported no significant difference

The author concluded that there is inconsistent evidence on the effect of refined grain on cancer. Seven of the 10 recent case control studies found that very high intakes might be associated with some types of cancers (renal, upper-digestive, stomach and colorectal), but at moderate levels of consumption the risks were not significant.

In summary, the evidence from the review indicates that consuming up to 50% of all grain food foods as refined grain core foods is not linked with any increased disease risk. Refined grain core foods were defined in the study as those without high levels of added fat or salt. It is important to remember that grain-based foods with large amounts of added fat, salt or sugar such as cakes, muffins, pastries or pizzas should still only be enjoyed as occasional indulgence foods.

Wholegrain foods have been shown to be associated with reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and some cancers which is why it is recommended Australians eat ‘preferably wholegrain’ grain foods. This study indicates that you can still also enjoy some refined grain foods as part of a healthy diet.

Examples of refined grain core foods included in the review are:

  • Breads: white bread, pita and mountain breads, bagels, crumpets, tortillas
  • Breakfast cereals: low fibre cereals and those containing < 25% wholegrain
  • Refined cereal grains: white rice, polenta, semolina, couscous
  • Pasta and noodles: those based on white wheat or rice flour.

‘One a Day is OK’

Putting this in to practice as part of a healthy diet that includes choosing high fibre and wholegrain most of the time, it means one meal each day could be a refined grain meal. For example, a high-fibre wholegrain breakfast cereal, a white bread sandwich at lunch and brown rice for dinner.

So you don’t have to give up your favourite refined grain core food like pasta or a low-fibre cereal, just make sure your other choices in the day are wholegrain.


Williams P. Evaluation of the evidence between consumption of refined grains and health outcomes. 2012 Nutrition Reviews (In Press)