7 Gluten-Free Grains You Should Add to Your Diet
Whether you're eating gluten-free for medical reasons or to follow a diet plan, there are some incredible gluten-free whole grains out there to keep you full at each meal. Contrary to what you may think, you don't have to go low-carb if you're cutting gluten out of your diet, thanks to several delicious and nutritious types of grains.
Gluten-free grains are now easier than ever to find at the grocery store or on restaurant menus, thanks to a growing consumer desire for more whole-grain options. And these grains offer some serious health benefits—they're full of fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and good carbs, plus they can boost your heart health and even aid in weight loss. These gluten-free grains are excellent staples for anyone to add to their diet—here are seven of our favorites.
Featured Recipe: Quinoa Power Salad
Thanks to the gluten-free and paleo diet movements, quinoa has become the star of gluten-free grains—and for good reason. This nutty, nourishing whole grain is extremely versatile and can be found in everything from salads and grain bowls to brownies and sweet breakfast dishes.
Beyond its versatility, you should certainly add quinoa to your diet for nutritional purposes. Just 1 cup of cooked quinoa offers 20% of your daily fiber needs and 8 grams of plant protein! Additionally, quinoa is packed with essential vitamins and minerals like magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, B vitamins and folate. It's especially great for plant-based eaters, since it contains all nine essential amino acids and is considered a complete protein.
Related: How to Cook Quinoa
You may have heard about buckwheat, since it's a popular grain to use in extra-fluffy pancakes. However, buckwheat is also tasty as a hot cereal, in soba noodles, in your favorite soup or stew and in baked goods.
Buckwheat is even more loaded with fiber and protein than quinoa, making it the perfect breakfast staple to keep you going throughout the day. Just 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour has 8 g protein and 6 g fiber. Buckwheat is also a great source of magnesium, iron, copper, manganese and phosphorus.
Featured Recipe: Creamy Blueberry-Pecan Overnight Oats
Oats are one of the most popular gluten-free grains out there, as they have long been a staple of the American diet. But oats aren't just delicious in sweet overnight oatmeal recipes. We love using oats in tons of recipes—from meatloaf to sweet potato casserole, or even in a savory hot cereal dish. While oats are gluten-free in and of themselves, just be sure you are purchasing oats that are "certified gluten-free," as they can sometimes be cross-contaminated with wheat, barley and rye.
Our nutrition editor Lisa Valente, M.S., R.D., says oatmeal is the top food to eat for breakfast for several reasons. Oats are high in protein and fiber to keep you powered through the day—1 cup of cooked oats has 6 g protein and 4 g fiber—plus, they're also a good source of essential vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium and phosphorus.
Related: Whole Grain Cooking Guide
Featured Recipe: Amaranth Pudding with Amaretto Cream
Amaranth is a lesser-known whole grain that is finally starting to get some of the gluten-free spotlight. This ingredient has long been used in sweet treats, granolas and even another version of popcorn. Trust us, you'll want to try it ASAP.
One cup of cooked amaranth has 250 calories, 5 g fiber and 9 g protein to bulk up your favorite grain-based recipes. It's an excellent source of iron, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. This makes it a great grain choice for vegans and vegetarians who often miss out on some of these important nutrients.
Rice is an ingredient most of us have in our pantries, and whether you're reaching for wild, white, black or brown rice, you're making an excellent gluten-free grain choice. Rice has been a diet staple for thousands of years, and we think it should be part of your diet as well, whether you're gluten-free or not. You'll find it across all cuisines, from burrito bowls to stir-fries to curries and more.
Brown Rice Nutrition
We'll focus on brown rice specifically when it comes to nutritional benefits, as brown rice is a whole grain and has the most protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals per serving. One cup of cooked long-grain brown rice has 250 calories, 3 g fiber and 6 g protein. Additionally, it is a great source of magnesium, manganese and phosphorus.
Featured Recipe: Roasted Root Vegetables with Goat Cheese Polenta
Contrary to popular belief, corn is actually healthy. Even fresh corn isn't as high in sugar as most people think— there's about 6 g in a medium-sized ear. Popcorn (if you skip the butter and salt) makes a great whole-grain snack: 3 cups of air-popped popcorn has less than 100 calories and provides 3 g fiber. Cornmeal adds crunch and flavor to a variety of baked goods, and 1/2 cup of whole-grain cornmeal has 4g fiber. Corn tortillas are whole-grain, too!
From flatbreads to fudgy brownies, there are so many ways to incorporate teff into your diet! Teff is one the smallest grains on this list—it's about the size of a poppy seed—and it has long been a staple food in several types of African cuisine. It's often ground into flour for baking or simply cooked to serve with protein and veggies.
One cup of cooked teff has 255 calories, 10 g protein and 7 g fiber, making it a seriously nutritious food. Teff is also a fantastic source of iron and magnesium, as well as a good source of B vitamins, zinc and calcium.
Nutrition Information: USDA FoodData Central