Cooking Up a Storm
By Marcia Scheideman
Wheat Foods Council
This is an exciting time for the Wheat Foods Council as we embark on our 35th year in promoting domestic wheat across the entire industry. Since its inception, the council has been unwavering in its mission to promote and reinforce the importance of wheat and other grain foods in a healthful diet. We do this through innovative, science-based programming, as well as by representing the industry in the regulatory/public nutrition policy arena, regularly collaborating with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Throughout our history, the WFC has provided a unified voice for the grain industry, from farm to fork. We are the only organization representing the entire industry, and our future programming will support that claim more than ever before.
Over the years, we have developed countless programs to educate the public about the nutrition, taste and vast variety of grain foods. In the late ‘80s, we implemented an ethnic-focused foodservice program to familiarize the public with tortillas and pita bread. During the Atkins craze, we dispelled the resulting carbohydrate-bashing myths with a fact-based nutrition education campaign.
More recently, the council supported a research study conducted by University of Virginia researcher Dr. Glenn A. Gaesser, whose findings suggested meals comprised of high-fiber/carbohydrate-rich, grain-based foods may provide a long-term measure of protection against cardiovascular disease. We continue to fund Dr. Gaesser’s research to further explore the health benefits of grain foods.
Last year, we launched “Mom, the Everyday Athlete,” a nutrition education campaign that recognizes moms as “everyday athletes” and highlights the health benefits of grain foods. Our “Mom, the Everyday Athlete” nationwide run/walk event, held in May of this year, was an extraordinary success.
As part of this event, we emphasized consumption of whole and enriched grain foods as a nutritious source of energy for active moms. Thanks to this program, we have a database of more than 4,000 moms with whom we communicate regularly. Nearly 300 of these women serve on our Mom Advisory Board, which will shape future programming.
Digitally speaking, we developed the first blog solely devoted to the grain industry, created a quarterly healthcare professional e-newsletter and launched an educational Web site for children, all in one year’s time.
We take great pride in our history and are excited to embark on a successful future beginning with our 35th Anniversary Cookbook. A collaboration between parents across the nation and celebrity chef and mother of three Gale Gand, this commemorative cookbook will address the importance of nutrition education for children, emphasizing a parent’s role in a child’s diet.
We invite parents to submit nutritious, wheat-based, child-friendly recipes in the categories of breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks, 30 of which will be featured alongside five exclusive recipes from Chef Gand. Each of the 35 recipes will be accompanied by educational facts, enabling parents to use the cookbook as a tool with which to teach their children about nutrition, serving sizes and the origins of their food. Parents can submit recipes at www.wheatfoods.org from September until January 31, 2008. The book will be available beginning in May 2008.
Chef Gand’s strong support of the grain industry made her a perfect fit for this program. An award-winning pastry chef, successful restaurateur, cookbook author and host of her own Food Network show, “Sweet Dreams,” this Mom-Chef knows the importance of quick, easy and nutritious recipes for a family on the go.
Every program produced by the council has been made possible by our members’ generous support. Current members include state wheat commissions, grain producers, millers, baking, cereal, pasta and tortilla companies, and related industry associations. Thank you, members, for making these and future Wheat Foods Council programs a reality!
Editor’s Note: To find out more about the Wheat Foods Council, visit www.WheatFoods.org.