The whole story.
Look at the Ingredients list. The word “whole” should be at the beginning of the list. Ingredients to look for are:
Foods that say “multi-grain,” “100% wheat,” or “high fiber” on the packaging may not actually be whole-grain products. Check the Ingredients list to get the whole story.
Just the facts.
- Look for the Nutrition Facts label to choose whole-grain foods with lower sodium, low saturated fat, and low added sugars.
Find the fiber.
- The Nutrition Facts label will also tell you how much fiber a serving of the food contains.
- If it contains 3 grams of fiber per serving, it is a good source of fiber.
- If it contains 5 grams or more of fiber per serving, it is a superstar!
- Breads and other whole-grain baked foods from local companies are often less expensive than national brands.
- Local baked foods may not have the same preservatives as national brands, so be sure to store them properly and use them quickly.
Buy just what you need.
- If whole-grain foods are not eaten quickly or if they are stored incorrectly, the oils in the grains can spoil, giving the food a rancid or spoiled taste.
- Purchase smaller amounts of whole-grain foods to keep from losing them to spoilage.
Handle with care.
- Check the label of whole-grain foods for the expiration date and storage guidelines. Check several packages of the same product while you’re at the store. Choose the one that has the longest expiration date.
- Make sure that the packaging of the whole-grain food is tight and well-sealed. Don’t buy a package that isn’t sealed.
- After you open the package, keep the food in a container with a tight-fitting lid and store it in a cool, dry location. A sealed container will keep the food fresher and keep bugs out.
- If you buy actual grains or whole-grain flours, these can be stored in sealed containers in your refrigerator or freezer to keep them fresher longer. In the refrigerator, whole-grain flours will keep for 2 to 3 months. In the freezer, they will keep for 6 to 8 months.
- Whole-grain breads keep best at room temperature in the original packaging, tightly closed with a twist-tie.
- Don’t store breads in the refrigerator; they can become dry and stale.
- You can store bread in the freezer, if it is tightly wrapped.
Concerned about gluten?
- People who can’t eat wheat gluten can still get the benefits of whole grains, if they choose those grains carefully.
- Whole-grain foods that fit in a gluten-free diet include:
- Brown rice
- Certified gluten-free oats and oatmeal
- Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”)
- Wild rice