Whole grain foods need to be handled with care. Over time and if not properly stored, oils in whole grains can cause degeneration. Consider these tips to select whole grain products and keep them fresh and safe to eat.
Whole grains can be an easy choice when preparing meals. Choose whole grain breads, breakfast cereals, and other prepared foods. Look at the Nutrition Facts labels to find choices lower in sodium, saturated (solid) fat, and sugars.
Some whole grain ingredients include whole oats, whole wheat flour, whole grain corn, whole grain brown rice, wild rice, and whole rye. Foods that say “multi-grain,” “100% wheat,” “high fibre,” or are brown in colour may not be a whole grain product.
The new school meal standards make it easier for your kids to choose whole grains at school. You can help your child adapt to the changes by slowly adding whole grains into their favourite recipes, meals, and snacks at home.
If the product provides at least 3 grams of fibre per serving, it is a good source of fibre. If it contains 5 or more grams of fibre per serving, it is an excellent source of fibre.
People who can’t eat wheat gluten can eat whole grains if they choose carefully. There are many whole-grain products, such as buckwheat, certified gluten-free oats or oatmeal, popcorn, brown rice, and wild rice that fit gluten-free diet needs.
Buy whole-grain products that are tightly packaged and well-sealed. Grains should always look and smell fresh. Also, check the expiration date and storage guidelines on the package.
When storing whole grains, use containers with tight-fitting lids and keep in a cool, dry location. A sealed container is important for maintaining freshness and reducing the possibility of bug infestations or moisture.
Purchase smaller quantities of whole grain products to reduce spoilage. Most grains in sealed packaging can be kept in the freezer.
Whole-grain bread is best stored at room temperature in its original packaging, tightly closed with a twist tie. The refrigerator will cause bread to lose moisture quickly and become stale. Properly wrapped bread will store well in the freezer.
Since the oil in various whole-grain flours differs, the shelf life varies too. Most whole grain flours keep well in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 months and in the freezer for 6 to 8 months. Cooked brown rice can be refrigerated 3 to 5 days and can be frozen up to 6 months.