Whole unrefined grains like oats, wheat, barley, rye, and corn provide more protein per gram than refined grains like white flour, bread, and crackers.
A serving size of one cup of cooked whole grain contains anywhere from 6-20% of your daily protein needs. This makes it easy to fit a healthy amount of protein into every meal.
So, how do you know what type of whole grain is best for you? First, look for the words “whole grain,” “100% whole grain,” or “all natural.”
Then check out the ingredient list. If there are no added ingredients, you’re probably dealing with a healthy option.
In addition, you should make sure to read labels carefully. Some brands add additional sugars or fillers to bulk up the product.
Let’s look at some high protein grains
Amaranth is a grain native to Mexico and Central America. Its name derives from the Latin word “amaranths,” meaning “unmixed.”
In fact, amaranth is considered a pseudocereal because it resembles wheat, barley, oats, rye, and corn. However, unlike those cereals, amaranth does not contain gluten.
Instead, it contains proteins similar to those found in soybeans. In fact, amaranth contains 9 grams of protein for each cup, or approximately 246 grams.
Because amaranth is a complete protein, it helps prevent deficiencies of certain amino acids. For example, it contains all eight essential amino acids needed to build muscles.
Moreover, it contains all nine of the branched chain amino acids (BCAA), which are important for building lean mass.
The best way to consume amaranth is raw. You can either eat it alone, mix it into smoothies, make granola bars out of it, or use it as a base ingredient for soups and stews.
Kamut is a type of ancient grain native to the Middle East. It’s been cultivated there since about 5,500 BC, and it’s believed to be the oldest domesticated crop.
In fact, archaeologists believe that the Egyptians were growing kamut around 3,300 B.C., and it was being grown in Israel as early as 2,600 B.C.
Today, it’s still widely used in the region, and it’s becoming increasingly popular throughout the world.
This gluten-free grain is high in protein, and it’s often considered a superfood because of its nutritional profile.
It’s packed full of minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, and manganese, plus vitamins A and E. Plus, it’s got some special health benefits of its own.
Kamut can be used in place of regular wheat when making pasta, pizza crusts, pancakes, waffles, muffins, cookies, cakes, and other baked goods. It also works well in salads, sandwiches, wraps, and even breakfast cereal.
Teff is technically a seed, but it is typically thought of as a grain due to its size and shape. This tiny little kernel contains almost 10 grams of protein per serving.
It is native to Ethiopia and Eritrea, and is gaining popularity around the world as a gluten-free option.
Half a cup of Teff contains a whopping 13g of protein.
4. Whole Wheat Pasta
Whole wheat pasta is just like regular pasta, except it contains more fiber and nutrients. In fact, it provides seven grams of protein per cup.
You can find whole wheat pasta in many shapes, including penne, rigatoni, fusilli, rotini, and shells. If you’re looking for a healthier option, try switching out some white flour for whole wheat flour.
Whole wheat pasta can be used in place or alongside regular pasta. Just remember that if you cook it longer than your usual amount of time, it will become mushy.
5. Wild Rice
Wild rice is a type of grain native to North America. This versatile food is often used in soups, salads, pilafs, casseroles, and even desserts. In fact, you can find wild rice in many grocery stores today.
The nutritional value of wild rice is comparable to brown rice, but it contains fewer carbohydrates and calories.
A cup of cooked wild rice provides about six grams of protein, compared to four grams per serving of regular brown rice.
Wild rice is good for people with diabetes, heart disease, and digestive issues. It has lots of soluble fiber, which makes it easier for your body to break down and absorb nutrients. Plus, it’s low in fat and cholesterol.
When you want to add protein rich grains to your morning meal, reach for oatmeal. One cup of cooked oatmeal contains 4.4 grams of protein along with healthy doses of calcium, iron, and fiber.
Oats are often recommended in a weight loss plan because they help keep hunger down. Try cooking them with dairy or nut milks instead of plain old tap or bottled waters for an added boost of protein.
Oats are also good for those who have trouble digesting milk proteins. The lactose found in milk can cause gas, bloating, cramps, and diarrhea. But oats don’t contain any lactose, so they are a great alternative.
Couscous is another one of the most accessible protein rich grains. This small pasta-like grain is often used in North African and Mediterranean cuisines.
It’s made with the exact same ingredients as pasta, but it’s cooked differently. In fact, it cooks faster than regular pasta.
With 6 grams of protein in each cup, you’ll find this ingredient in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean recipes. You can use it in place of rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat, barley, farro, or even noodles.
You can make couscous at home by using a ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part couscous. Bring the water to a boil, then stir in the couscous. Cover the pot and let it sit for 5 minutes. Fluff up the couscous with a fork before serving.
Millet is a type of cereal grass native to Africa and Asia. Its seeds are used around the world as food. In fact, it’s often called “the poor man’s rice.”
This gluten-free grain is rich in protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and vitamin B6. It’s also high in antioxidants and contains no cholesterol.
A single serving of millet provides 7 grams of protein. A half cup of cooked millet has about 4 grams of protein.
You can add millet to soups, salads, casseroles, stir fries, pasta dishes, breads, muffins, pancakes, waffles, cookies, and even ice cream.
Quinoa is another high protein seed that you can easily buy in most stores. This grain is often used as a substitute for rice because it contains similar nutrients like fiber and iron.
Quinoa is also considered a complete protein since it contains all nine essential amino acids. It is gluten-free and easy to cook. You can use it in salads, soups, casseroles, and even baked goods.
Buckwheat’s high nutritional value makes them an excellent choice for anyone looking to improve their health.
A cup of buckwheat offers 5g of protein. The grain is especially good for people who suffer from IBS because they’re easy on the digestive tract.
Importance Of Protein
Protein is vital for our bodies. Without enough of it, we won’t be able to build muscle mass and repair damaged cells. We need protein every day to stay healthy.
The best sources of protein include meat, fish, eggs, cheese, beans, nuts, soy products, and whole grains. These foods provide us with the building blocks necessary to grow strong muscles and bones.
When we eat these foods, we get more energy and feel better overall. They help keep us leaner and healthier.
To ensure you get enough protein, try eating two servings of protein per meal. That means having a piece of chicken, a bowl of oatmeal, or a glass of milk.
Protein rich grains such as brown rice, oats, quinoa, and millet are great additions to your diet. They offer plenty of protein without adding too much fat or calories.
How To Add Grains To Diet
You can add protein rich grains to your diet by simply including them into your meals. For example, you could have a small bowl of oatmeal for breakfast instead of a bagel.
Or you could sprinkle some brown rice onto your salad for lunch.
You don’t have to limit yourself to just one kind of protein rich grain, either. Try mixing different types together for variety.
For instance, you could have a bowl of brown rice topped with a handful of almonds and a few slices of turkey breast.
Or you could make a quick salad using a mixture of brown rice, black beans, spinach, tomatoes, and avocado.
You can try adding a little at first until you see how you react. Then gradually increase the amount over time.
Protein rich grains are a great addition to any diet. They contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and fiber while providing a steady stream of protein.
They’re also low in carbohydrates, so they won’t cause blood sugar spikes.
If you want to add protein rich grains to your diet, start experimenting now. Experimenting allows you to find out what works best for you.
Remember to always check labels when buying food. Some brands may contain added sugars or other ingredients that aren’t safe for diabetics.
Also remember to read nutrition facts panels before purchasing food. Look for things like carbs, fats, sodium, and calorie count.
This way you’ll know exactly what’s going into your body, and you’ll also avoid unnecessary weight gain.