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You know how it is when a crowd of people are all shouting and pointing at something at the same time? You just have to look, to see what’s so interesting – it’s simply human nature.
That’s what Oldways’ Whole Grains Council does every year on the first Wednesday in April: we get people all over the country, pointing to the nearest whole grains and saying, “Lookee here – good stuff!” We figure, if enough people are shouting and pointing at the same time, everyone else will simply facebook  to see what the excitement’s all about.
April 2 will be our third annual Whole Grain Sampling Day, and this event is picking up momentum in a big way. One of the most exciting celebrations is a month-long sweepstakes from Roman Meal Bread.  The grand prize winner will receive $2,500 and many others will win free bread coupons. Details on their Facebook page in April.
If you’re on the road on The Big Day, start off your morning at Dunkin’ Donuts, where there’s a special Buy-One-Get-One-Free offer on Whole Wheat or Multi-grain Bagels with cream cheese (all week!), at participating locations. At lunch, pick up whole grain burritos or tacos at Rubios, and enjoy a $1 discount to celebrate Whole Grain Sampling Day. Then finish up at dinner, by ordering your pizza with a whole grain crust at California Pizza Kitchen. Other national chains, including McDonald’s, Denny’s and Genghis Grill, will be promoting their whole grain options on social media throughout the day. 
Beyond these six chains that have officially signed on as WGSD partners, you may be surprised to know that scores of other chain restaurants now offer whole grain choices. Check out the list on our website, to find out what may be available near you. We’ve even noted a few restaurants that now offer special whole grain kids meal choices. A big thanks to Healthy Dining Finder and the National Restaurant Association, who helped us reach out to restaurants, and to Barilla, Freekehlicious and Lotus Foods, who offered free whole grains to restaurants looking to practice their whole grain mojo.
If you prefer to cook and eat at home, your local supermarket may be able to point you in the direction of some new whole grain ideas. Many Hy-Vee supermarkets will be working with grain supplier InHarvest to sample a quinoa salad on April 2, and some Whole Foods locations will also be celebrating Whole Grain Sampling Day. 
If your local supermarket doesn’t happen to have a Sampling Day event scheduled, take things into your own hands. Buy your favorite whole grain ingredients, pick a recipe from the Whole Grains Council website, and have your own sampling event for friends and/or family. This is your chance to win over a few converts on your own! 
After dinner, browse the internet, where our partners at the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) are posting a special slideshow on whole grains, and an infographic highlighting how whole grains can reduce the risk of some cancers. They’re also updating their section on whole grains, just in time for Whole Grain Sampling Day.
Also online, a special corps of bloggers – our anointed Whole Grain Ambassadors – will be blogging about whole grains, and sharing their opinions on a wide range of whole grain products they’ve been sampling, courtesy of more than two dozen food manufacturers. We love our intrepid Ambassadors and invite you to link to all their blogs, through the special Ambassadors page on the WGC website. Many of them are also planning giveaways in connection with WGSD, and you may be able to get some goodies by following their blogs.
The fun doesn’t end there. Check out our full list of Sampling Day partners across the country, and you’ll notice food trucks in Boston and New Orleans, a Bolivian restaurant in San Francisco, a bakeshop in Georgia, a private school in South Carolina, and a university in North Dakota. Even Google is on board, with special whole grain promotions and tastings happening in all their workplace cafés globally. If your company cafeteria is run by Compass USA, there’s a good chance there will be WGSD specials happening where you work, too.
- Cynthia

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