Shopping for Whole-Grain Foods

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Shopping for Whole-Grain Foods

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!

Go local.

  • 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
    • Buckwheat
    • Certified gluten-free oats and oatmeal
    • Popcorn
    • Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”)
    • Wild rice

This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.