Grains can be a great source of nutrition, and they’re an important food group to add to your emergency food stash. Make sure you have a well-rounded survival diet by including the most nutritious grains.
About the Grains Group
What foods are in the grains group? Which grains have the most protein? What kinds of things can I cook with grains? Let’s find out!
The grains group is divided into two subgroups: whole grains and refined grains.
Refined grains are grains that have been milled, which removes the nutrients. If you choose refined grains, check the label to be sure that they are enriched, which adds back in some B vitamins and iron but no fiber. Refined grains include white rice, white flour, grits, and most breakfast cereals.
Whole grains have the entire grain kernel, retaining all of the dietary fiber, iron, B vitamins, complex carbohydrates, and minerals. Whole grains include brown rice, quinoa, oats, and more!
Whole grains are the best survival grains because they are packed with the things our bodies need:
- Fiber helps reduce blood cholesterol, lowers the risk of heart disease, and promotes healthy digestion.
- Iron carries oxygen to the blood.
- B vitamins help boost your metabolism, increase energy levels, and promote nervous system function.
- Amino acids help break down food for energy, promote tissue growth and repair, and make hormones to regulate mood.
- Antioxidants protect cells from free radicals, which damage cells, cause illness, and speed up aging.
Check the ingredient list to be sure the “whole grain” is first, and “whole” is before every grain listed.
The best way to keep your grains fresh is to reduce exposure to oxygen. Always store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Storing in the refrigerator or the freezer can help keep flours and some grains fresh for a long time. Keep in a food-grade bucket for long-term food storage. Use oxygen absorbers to increase the shelf life of whole grains, flours, pasta, cereal, and other dried foods.
The Top 10 Grains
These are the best grains to have in your emergency food stash.
Hulled barley is a whole grain with a chewy texture and nutty flavor. It is high in fiber and considered a whole grain. Avoid pearl barley, which is refined.
What to cook: Beef & Barley Soup
2. Brown Rice
Brown rice is rich in antioxidants, which protect and repair cells. It is an easy substitute for white rice in any recipe.
What to cook: Vegetable Fried Rice
3. Buckwheat (GF)
Buckwheat can have an intense earthy and sometimes bitter flavor that takes getting used to but is worth it — it is high in complex carbs and antioxidants. Its minerals, including manganese, iron, and phosphorus, are easily absorbed. It’s also known to reduce food cravings.
Bulgur is light, chewy, and very filling. It’s packed with fiber and a good source of complex carbohydrates.
What to cook: Bulgur with Roasted Veggies
5. Millet (GF)
Millet is gluten-free and high in prebiotic fiber that supports good bacteria in the digestive system. It has about 22 grams of protein in one cup. Millet has a neutral flavor with a creamy texture and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Farro is a high-protein grain and a good source of iron, fiber, and magnesium. It has a similar taste to brown rice.
What to cook: Farro “Mac & Cheese”
7. Quinoa (GF)
Quinoa is most commonly red, white, or black in color. Red and white taste the same, while black is slightly sweeter. Quinoa is a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids. One cup contains about 8 grams of complete protein.
What to cook: Quinoa and Black Bean Burgers
8. Whole Oats
Steel-cut oats are the least processed and retain slightly more fiber and nutrients than rolled oats.
What to cook: Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oatmeal
9. Whole Wheat Pasta
Whole wheat pasta is healthier than pasta made with semolina, a refined flour. One (1-cup) serving of whole wheat spaghetti contains about 23 percent of the daily fiber you need.
What to cook: Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Meatballs
10. Wild Rice
Wild rice is high in some amino acids, fiber, and protein-rich—one cup of wild rice contains 6.5 grams of protein. It tends to be a little tougher and chewier than brown rice.
What to cook: Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
4Patriots is here to help you build a quality, nutrient-rich survival food stash. Check out our emergency food kits that can feed you from three days to an entire year, and shop individual ingredients that can help you make your favorite comfort meals. Start your order today.