This study assessed how 8- to 13-year-old children categorized and labeled grain foods and how these categories and labels were influenced by child characteristics. The main hypotheses were that children categorized foods in consistent ways and these food categories differed from the professional food categories. A set of 71 cards with pictures and names of grain foods from eight professionally defined food groups was sorted by each child into piles of similar foods. There were 149 8- to 13-year-old children (133 English-speaking, 16 Spanish-speaking) in this exploratory study. One-way analysis of variance and Robinson matrices for identification of clusters of food items were calculated. Children created a mean (+/-standard deviation) of 8.3+/-3.8 piles with 8.6+/-9.1 cards per pile. No substantial differences in Robinson clustering were detected across subcategories for each of the demographic characteristics. For the majority of the piles, children provided "taxonomic-professional" (34.5%) labels, such as bread for the professional category of breads, rolls, and tortillas, or "script" (26.1%) labels, such as breakfast for the professional category of pancakes, waffles, and flapjacks. These categories may be used to facilitate food search in a computerized 24-hour dietary recall for children in this age group.