Why Whole Grains? Learn Proper Storage & How to Purchase

Reading the Nutrition Label:

Don’t be fooled by the color of bread! Just because it’s brown does not mean it qualifies as a whole grain or high in fiber!  Be a savvy shopper by knowing what to look for in your products!

When shopping for whole grains, it is important to scan the nutrition list to find out the true nature of the grains found in the product!  If the product is truly a whole grain, the first ingredient listed should be one of the following:

  • Whole or rolled oats
  • Corn
  • Brown Rice
  • Wild rice
  • Whole wheat
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • Quinoa

Nutrition labels can be misleading and companies love to market their foods in a way that makes us feel as though we are buying a nutritious product, even if that is not the case.  Common labels are listed below to let you know the true meaning behind the term. Most people associate the following terms with whole grains, but that may not be the case.

  • 100% wheat. This means that the only grain found in the product is wheat but it does not mean it contains the whole grain of wheat.
  • Multigrain. This term means that more than one type of grain was used to make the product.  The grains that were used may or may not have been whole grains.
  • Stone ground. This term refers to a technique used to grind grains.  The bran portion of the grain may or may not be included in the product, therefore, it may or may not be whole grain.

Purchase & Storage

Now that you know what to look for on labels, it is time to discuss how to purchase different whole grains.  You will want to buy whole grains from a source that has rapid turnover. With time, whole grains lose freshness at a much faster rate than refined grains.  To keep freshness, store any grains left in a package in the fridge if you do not plan to use the remaining product within 1-2 months. And store in a dry, cool place because warm temperatures can turn whole grains rancid.  Keep this in mind and do not store whole grains above stoves, near ovens or dishwashers. If the whole grains have a bad odor, do not purchase or use because they could be rancid.  To protect whole grains during storage, wrap whole grains in a plastic bag before storing in another container to prolong shelf life for a few weeks up to months.  When in your grocery, if you see insects around the grains, do not buy them from that store.  Bugs could be in a larval state and hatch later in the grain which can cause an infestation of bugs in your home pantry that is difficult to manage.