12 Keto Friendly Grains

By: Jackie Martin    Last Updated: January 9, 2023       


12 Keto Friendly Grains

Whether you’ve already committed to the keto diet or are just considering it for the future, you likely already know that the ketogenic diet revolves around the premise of eating more fat and fewer carbohydrates in order to encourage your body to burn more fat. 

Because of the lower recommended carb intake for the keto diet, you might have assumed that any and all grains are basically off the table.

After all, aren’t grains mainly made up of carbs? 

Well, yes and no. While it’s true that most grains are carb-heavy, there are some grains that have carb-to-fat ratios that can be worked into the ketogenic diet. 

Moreover, it’s important to remember that keto involves eating fewer carbs – not none at all.

Most people doing keto can still consume up to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day, which means that a single serving of higher-fat, lower-carb grains per day could work in your ketogenic diet. 

Here are 12 keto-friendly grains you can eat while doing keto without compromising your health or weight loss goals. 

1. Quinoa 

Quinoa is a type of grain known as a pseudocereal, and it’s very popular with people who are trying to prioritize healthy fats and proteins in their diets without giving up grains altogether. 

In a ¼ cup of quinoa (measured while uncooked), you’ll get 24 grams of carbohydrates, which is pretty low for a grain and fits comfortably in the 50-gram daily allowance of carbohydrates per day on keto. 

In addition to being low in carbs and high in healthy fats and protein, quinoa is an excellent source of fiber, so it may also help your digestion.

Keto is far removed from the average human diet, and because many common sources of fiber are also high in carbs, people first starting keto sometimes experience gastrointestinal issues.

Eating quinoa may help with these symptoms due to the fiber content. 

2. Oats

Many people don’t consider oats to be grains because when most of us think about grains, we immediately think about rice and other similar grains.

However, as a cereal, oats are still grains, and they can be incorporated into the keto diet without going over your carbohydrate limit. 

One serving of oats is roughly ½ a cup when uncooked, and in this serving, you’ll get 23 grams of carbs.

That means you can definitely have oats for breakfast while doing keto as long as you incorporate other high-fat ingredients and get enough protein, too. 

Oats also have more oil in them than most grains, which means that they have a higher fat content than other grains. So, they’re ideal for keto. 

3. Corn 

Like oats, one serving of corn is equal to approximately ½ a cup.

Luckily for everyone on the keto diet, corn is actually fairly low in carbohydrates with just 14 grams of carbs per serving. 

You may not have expected corn to feature on this list because most people think of it as a vegetable rather than a grain, but it is actually considered a grain as long as it’s harvested when it’s reached its full maturity and has dried.

This is why corn can be used to make things such as cornbread and corn tortillas. 

4. Couscous 

Couscous might not be as nutritionally dense as other grains on this list, but all the same, it’s a fairly safe choice if you want to continue to eat some grains in your diet without consuming too many carbs. 

In a serving of couscous, which measures approximately ½ a cup after cooking, you’ll only be consuming 18 grams of carbohydrates.

You’ll also be getting 3 grams of protein.

However, make sure to pair your couscous with other sources of healthy fats because couscous is naturally low in both unsaturated and saturated fat, and you need plenty of fats in your diet on keto. 

5. Spelt

5. Spelt

Spelt has been used for centuries around the world, and it still continues to be popular to this day because of its low carb content as well as the fact that it’s high in protein.

You can use it instead of rice in various dishes, making it a versatile choice. 

In every ¼ cup of uncooked spelt, there are 26 grams of carbohydrates.

Therefore, spelt is now the lowest-carb grain on our list but it can definitely fit into the average ketogenic diet without causing any problems. 

6. Millet 

Millet has an average serving size of about ½ a cup when cooked.

In that serving, there are 20 grams of carbohydrates, so millet is actually one of the lower-carb grains on this list. 

Millet might not be especially high in fiber or fat, but it does contain 3 grams of protein per serving so it can help you to hit your daily protein goal while remaining in a state of ketosis as long as you get plenty of fat from other sources. 

7. Bulgur 

If you’re looking for a keto-friendly grain that you can have in savory dishes as a rice or quinoa replacement and also incorporate into your breakfast oats, bulgur is the perfect choice. 

Not only is a single ½ cup serving of cooked bulgur low in carbs with just 17 grams of carbs in total and a net carb total of just 13 grams, but there are also 3 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber in every serving.

In terms of the wholegrains available to you on the keto diet, bulgur is one of the lowest in carbohydrates. 

8. Wild Rice 

We’ve talked a lot about using other grains as substitutes for rice in this article, but just because you’re sticking to the keto diet doesn’t mean you can never enjoy a portion of rice.

You just need to prioritize rice varieties that aren’t high in carbs, and wild rice is a great example. 

Admittedly, compared to other grains on this list, wild rice is not the lowest in carbs. In ¼ cup of uncooked wild rice, there are 27 grabs of net carbs.

Therefore, a single serving will be most of your carb allowance for the day on keto.

However, compared to other rice varieties, wild rice is the lowest in carbs, so it’s the most suitable for keto.

9. Buckwheat

Buckwheat has pretty much exactly the same carb content as wild rice, with 27 grams of net carbs for every uncooked ¼ cup of the grain.

So, again, it’s not the lowest-carb option overall, but it’s certainly quite low-carb for a grain. 

Buckwheat can help to satisfy your carb cravings while you’re on keto because one serving shouldn’t interfere with your macros and it also has a delicious nutty flavor.

Plus, buckwheat also happens to be gluten-free, so even if you’re avoiding gluten on your keto diet, you can still have buckwheat.

10. Barley

10. Barley

Barley is slightly lower in carbohydrates than wild rice or buckwheat, with 26 grams of net carbs per ¼ cup (uncooked).

Because barley is slightly sweet, it’s quite versatile and can be used to add subtle sweetness to savory dishes as well as being commonly used in Asian cuisine and barley tea (see also ‘Is Barley Tea Good For You?‘). 

Bear in mind that barley is not gluten-free, so it won’t be a suitable grain for people with gluten intolerances doing keto. 

11. Einkorn Wheat 

Einkorn wheat is not as well-known as some of the other grains on this list, but it’s worth knowing about if you want to continue to have some grains in your diet while in a state of ketosis. 

A serving of einkorn wheat is around ¼ a cup before cooking, which turns into about ½ a cup after cooking.

In this serving, there are 28 grams of carbohydrates, so einkorn wheat has the highest carb content on this list.

However, as long as you don’t eat many more sources of carbohydrates throughout the day, you can still fit a serving of einkorn wheat into your keto meal plan. 

You can bake einkorn wheat into keto-friendly bread, but it won’t be gluten-free. 

12. Popcorn

In the mood for a tasty snack? Then we have good news for you because popcorn is technically a grain (it’s made from corn, after all), and it’s quite low in carbs. 

In fact, 2 cups of popcorn only contains 10 grams of net carbs. Of course, this is after the popcorn has been popped, not before. 

The only thing to bear in mind with popcorn on keto is that the carb content will increase if you start loading it with sugary toppings, so it’s best to choose low-carb seasonings for your popcorn if you’re doing keto. 

Final Thoughts 

This list of 12 keto-friendly grains just goes to show that you can still have some grains in your diet if you’re doing keto.

You just have to be smart about which grains you cook with to make sure you don’t go over 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. 

Grains like barley, spelt, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, bulgur, einkorn wheat, wild rice, couscous, corn, oats and popcorn can all be incorporated into your keto diet plan as long as you pay attention to serving size.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}