Top Protein-Rich Grains According to Food Experts

Protein deficiency can result in malnutrition. It can affect your health badly. However, it is most common in children and affects more than one-third of the children around the world. Therefore it is very necessary to take the right amount of protein through diet.  Most people don’t want protein from an animal source either because of cost or dietary restrictions. One might not think of grains as a good source of protein. However, it is not exactly true and Some top protein-rich grains are the best source.

Likewise, plant proteins like legumes are also a good source but are not a widely liked choice. Whole grains contain a high amount of dietary proteins. Replacing the refined grains with whole ones will fulfill your protein needs.

Proteins are part of a well-balanced diet. They not only serve as an energy source but are also required for growth and development. An average person needs 0.8 grams of protein per kg of their body weight.

This article will guide you about the top protein-rich grains you can add to your diet.

Table of Contents

Whole Grain Pasta

Pasta is one of the favorite meals around the world. They come in various shapes and there are many ways to cook them.

However, the traditional white flour pasta is unhealthy. Processed flour lacks essential nutrients and is the core ingredient of white pasta. Therefore, too much white pasta will only give you calories.

Whole grain pasta is a healthy alternative to regular pasta. The preparation of this pasta requires whole grains. Therefore, all the vital nutrients remain intact.

In addition, you will consume fewer calories with this pasta. Studies even indicate that they help in reducing hunger by increasing satiety.

The whole-grain pasta is rich in nutrients like iron, zinc, and magnesium. The protein content is also excellent in them.

140 grams of cooked whole-grain pasta has 8.33 grams of protein.

Brown Rice

Brown rice is a good source of protein. According to USDA, one cup of cooked brown rice (195g) can provide you 5.32 g of proteins. In addition to that, you will also get fibers, vitamin B-6, and numerous micronutrients (manganese, selenium, niacin) in your diet.

Rice is a staple food for many people around the world. When rice is cultivated it is either sold as white rice or brown rice. Around the world, white rice is more popular than brown rice. However, from a nutritional aspect, brown rice is more beneficial.

Brown rice is a whole grain. Only the outer layer husk is removed from it. Whereas, processing of white rice removes all the nutrient-rich layers (bran and germ) after husk.

The absence of bran and germ from white rice makes it an unhealthy choice, especially for weight-conscious people.

You will miss out on several vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers, and healthy fatty acids by consuming plain white rice. Without these core ingredients, white rice is just plain bulk of starch in your diet.

Also Read: 10 Best Foods To Eat In The Breakfast


Oatmeals are popular among American and Canadian consumers. They are one of the favorite breakfast food and are prepared by boiling in either milk or water. In addition to that, they are also an ingredient in granola bars and oat cookies.

For people looking for a good source of grain protein, oatmeals are a good choice for you.

One cup of boiled oatmeal will give you ~6 grams of protein. This is almost 12% of daily protein intake.

Pure oats are gluten-free which makes them a good choice for gluten intolerants.

Additionally, oatmeal provides instant energy and is packed with essential nutrients. They are found in both enriched and pure form in the markets.

Due to processing, oatmeal losses a few of its nutrients like iron, calcium, and other vitamins. Therefore, most manufacturers enrich them with missing nutrients to increase their nutritional value.


Most of the consumers associate millets with bird fodder. But millets are not just for birds. Throughout the Asian and African continents. millets are also protein-rich grains and are widely consumed as a food source.

Millet is a gluten-free grain. Additionally, it has high antioxidant contents, fiber, and a vast amount of protein. You can get 6.1 grams of protein from one cup of millet making it a 12% daily value of recommended protein.

Millet can be a rice substitute if you cook them by boiling them in water or broth. In flour form, they are best for bakery products. In addition, now millet snacks are also available for consumers

One thing to remember is that millets sometimes contain antinutrients. These compounds are harmful to health. Therefore, it is good to soak millet overnight before cooking to remove these substances.

Also Read: Everything You Need To Know About Nuts


Buckwheat is a grain-like seed that is grown in Asia. They are not related to wheat in any way, instead, they are considered pseudocereal. Since they are not in the same family as wheat, they are gluten-free. Therefore, they are a good choice for people suffering from celiac disease.

Buckwheat is a superfood because of its dense nutritional profile. It contains a decent amount of proteins. One cup of roasted buckwheat kernel, groats, provides 5.68 grams of protein.

Buckwheat groats can be consumed in soups, salads, or as a topping on different foods. Additionally, you can purchase buckwheat flour to make pancakes, crepes, or waffles from it.


Cornmeal is obtained by crushing dry corns. It is coarse in texture and is the main ingredient of some foods like cornbread.

Cornmeal has a bright yellow color which gives a vibrant look to its product. They are a staple food in the U.S and have great protein content. As listed by USDA, cornmeal contains 7 grams of protein. Therefore, they are an excellent choice for grain protein.

Also Read:18 Healthy Snacks That Are Under 100 Calories: The Ultimate Guide


Quinoa is a nutrient-dense food from the amaranth family. Their seeds are eaten like cereal but are not part of the cereal family. The seed of quinoa is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and fibers.

A cup of cooked quinoa (185 grams) provided 8 grams of protein in the diet.

Its nutty flavor makes it an excellent ingredient for soups and salads. Additionally, they are gluten-free which makes them safer for gluten intolerants.

It doesn’t grow on grass which makes it a pseudocereal.


Spelt is an ancient species of wheat. It was first cultivated near 5000 B.C. People stopped using this grain in modern times. However, they gained popularity again due to their healthy nutritional profile.

The health market considers spelt healthier than modern-day wheat. Additionally, they are an excellent source of energy.

They provide a large amount of protein. One cup of cooked spelt will add ~11 grams of protein to your diet. Moreover, they add 3.4 mg of iron to their daily intake.

Its nutty taste makes it a fine choice for baked goods. Spelt bread is a popular product. Additionally, crackers and pasta are also available in the market.

However, it is a type of wheat so it contains gluten. Therefore, people who are on a gluten-free diet should avoid this grain

Also Read: Most Nutritious Fruits In The World And Their Health Benefits

Wild Rice

Wild rice is an ancient North American crop and was recognized as a whole grain in 2006. These rice do not have a direct link with rice species, despite their name. Their plant grows in shallow lakes. They are protein-rich grains.

Wild rice has an excellent nutritional profile. They are high in protein and the fat content in them is low. You will get 6.4 grams of protein by eating a cup of wild rice.

However, it should be remembered that wild rice has a nice nutritional profile, there is also a small drawback. Ergot is a highly toxic fungus that can occasionally attack wild rice. In this case, the grains have pink or purple splotches with fungal growth. Therefore, the consumer should be careful while using wild rice


Kamut is a commercial name for Khorasan wheat. It originated from ancient Egypt. They are twice the size of regular modern-day wheat and are popular for their rich nutty flavor.

Kamut also has 30% more protein than any other grain. One cup cooked Kamut has almost 10 grams of protein. Their iron content is also noticeable. You can get 3 mg of iron in one cup of this grain making a total of 17% daily value.

Kamut flour is available in markets. You can use it instead of regular flour. However, Kamut is not gluten-free. People with celiac disease should avoid this grain.


Protein fulfillment is necessary for the body. The trouble is finding the right source of protein. Top protein-rich grains are a promising source of protein. Additionally, most of the foods on this list are gluten-free except a few. Hence the people with gluten intolerance can easily choose food from this list.

Also Read: What Are Most Nutrient Dense Foods To Eat Every Day?


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