Nutrition Notes and Selection Tips for Whole Grains

Don’t waste any more time trying to figure out which whole grains to choose at the supermarket. Registered dietitian Kim Galeaz shares nutrition information and storage, selection and prep tips for these healthy diet staples.


  • Brown rice isn’t the only whole-grain rice – wild rice and exotic hues like purple, black and red are also whole grains.
  • Brown rice – and all rice – is gluten-free.
  • Barley is one of the best sources of soluble fiber, and soluble fiber has been shown to help lower cholesterol.
  • Quinoa, though considered a whole grain, is technically a protein-rich vegetable related to beets and spinach. It is very high in fiber and is gluten-free.
  • Quinoa is a complete protein, which means it contains all the essential amino acids your body can’t make on its own. This makes it a great choice for meatless and vegetarian meals.

Selection, Storage and Prep

  • Look for quinoa that is already pre-rinsed or pre-washed to not only save time, but drastically reduce the earthy, strong flavor of quinoa
  • Quinoa can be found in the grains aisle near the rice or in the specialty/gourmet foods area of some supermarkets.
  • Store uncooked quinoa in a dry, cool place, and for best quality, use by date suggested on the container.
  • Brown rice comes in many different forms so you’ll easily find one to meet your time schedule. There is long cooking in bags, quick/fast cooking in boxes and already-cooked pouches that just need microwaving.
  • Quick-cooking or microwave rice both have a slightly chewier, denser texture than long-cooking rice.
  • Look for quick-cooking barley in the cereal aisle near the oatmeal or specialty rains area of the grocery store.
  • Store dry barley in a dry, cool, dark place and use by the date suggested on the container for best quality.
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Put your knowledge to use! Try tasty whole grains in one of these good-for-you recipes:

Curried Barley with Cranberries, Raisins and Pecans
Cinnamon-Spiced Quinoa with Apples and Sweet Potato
Brown Rice Salad with Pears, Walnuts and Gorgonzola

Learn more about grains and put your math skills to the test with the My American Farm game, Amazing Grains, developed by the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture.



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