"It’s essential that full information is presented. Industrial processes are essential to what products are," Klein says. Look for companies that define their own whole-grain standard, as Community Grains does, since the FDA standard often has various definitions of whole grain.
If you’re buying products in bulk, Weinstein says, make sure the store has a high turnover rate. "Smell it first, to make sure it smells fresh," Weinstein says. "And if you’re walking down an aisle in the store and moths are flying around where the flour is, get out. Put everything down in your cart and get out."
"[Whole grains] just don’t exist in prepared foods," Weinstein says. "It’s just not going to be an option. Maybe quinoa salad and brown rice, but barley, millet, triticale, and rye berries, those are all things that aren’t popular enough yet."
"What are the first ingredients? Breakfast cereals are a good example," Weinstein says. "Usually the first ingredient is sugar, the second ingredient might be whole-grain corn, but it’s always best to go where sugar is not the first ingredient. If you’re going to eat processed, packaged, prepared things and no one is going to take that away from you. But look at the ingredients and see where those whole grains fall."
Wheat germs should be stored in the refrigerator and whole-grain polenta kept in the freezer, Weinstein says, lest both products go rancid. "If you go through this stuff quickly, if you aren’t buying 50-pound bags, it’s perfectly fine to keep in the cabinet and you’re going to go through it in a couple of weeks," Weinstein says. Otherwise, store it in a cold place, because if not treated properly, whole-wheat and whole-grain products can go bad faster than most because of the nutrition in the germ and bran.
"There is a whole grain people probably eat a ton of all the time," Weinstein says. "Most people sit there and eat buckets of whole grain." The secret? Popcorn. Just get it without the loads of butter.