Skip to content

Meal Pattern Minute: Identifying Whole Grain-Rich Method 4, Part 2

May 5, 2023

The Rule of Three is one of the 6 ways to determine if a grain product is whole grain-rich. However, when it comes to cereals, this may look a little different when reading the ingredient list on the cereal package. So how do you go about determining if a cereal is whole grain-rich? 


Tune in and listen to our nutrition education specialist, Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, where she will explain in more detail on how to use the cereal ingredient list to determine if the product is whole grain-rich. 


Want more information on how to identify whole grain-rich foods? Check out the USDA Memo Code: CACFP 09-2018, Grain Requirements in the Child and Adult Care Food Program: Questions and Answers: 

  • FNS developed the Rule of Three in recognition that CACFP operators purchase food differently than School Meal Program operators, as CACFP operators often shop in retail environments and may not have access to manufacturers' product formulation statements or products specially formulated for School Meal Programs. 
  • To meet the Rule of Three as a whole grain-rich product, the first ingredient (or second after water) must be whole grain, and the next two grain ingredients (if any) must be whole grains, enriched grains, bran, or germ. Any grain derivatives (by-products of grains) may be disregarded. Any non-creditable grain ingredients (e.g., flours that are not enriched or whole) that are labeled as 2 percent or less of product weight are considered insignificant and may also be disregarded (see below for a list of these ingredients). 
  • When applying the Rule of Three to the grain portion of mixed dishes, such as pizza crusts and tortillas for burritos, the first grain ingredient must be whole grain and the next two grain ingredients (if any) must be whole grains, enriched grains, bran, or germ. 
  • Buyers may wish to refer to this list of ingredients while reviewing grain product labels when using the Rule of Three. Please note that this list is not meant to be exhaustive, and there may be other items that qualify that are not listed below. 

Want to know what constitutes a whole grain? Check out this resource, Identifying Grain Ingredients.


More Whole Grain-Rich Resources 

Need meal pattern resources to help you guide you on determining whole grain-rich products? Check out the free materials below to get your started! 

Whole Grain-Rich Recipes 

Want to share this video on Facebook? Click here, and then you'll find three icons along the right side of the screen. Click on the arrow, and you'll be able to choose whether you want to share it to your feed or to a group. You can also include a short note about why this Meal Pattern Minute is so important! Click on the "Post" button when you're finished, and that's it!