6 High-Fiber Whole Grains That Aren’t Brown Rice – EatingWell

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When it comes to high-fiber grains, brown rice often steals the spotlight, but there’s a whole world of nutritious options that offer similar (and sometimes more) benefits. For those looking to diversify their diet and boost their fiber intake, exploring a variety of whole grains can offer not only health benefits but also a range of flavors and textures. In this article, we will delve into six high-fiber whole grains that aren’t brown rice, providing delicious and versatile alternatives to add to your meals and support your digestive health.

1. Quinoa

Quinoa is a powerhouse among whole grains, celebrated not only for its high fiber content but also for its protein. Each cup of cooked quinoa contains about 5 grams of fiber, making it an excellent choice for those seeking to increase their intake. It is unique because it is also a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids our body can’t make itself, which can be harder to find among plant-based foods. Incorporate more quinoa into your diet by adding a spoonful to a salad, stirring it into veggie-packed chili or making these Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

2. Popcorn

You may not have been expecting to see popcorn on this list, but it’s true! Because it retains its bran, germ and endosperm, popcorn qualifies as a whole grain. A serving of air-popped popcorn contains about 3.5 grams of fiber per 3-cup portion, making it an excellent choice for boosting daily fiber intake. Plus, popcorn is a low-calorie, versatile snack that can be enjoyed in an array of creative ways. If you’re looking for popcorn recipe inspiration that goes beyond the classic buttered variety, you must try this Lime Parmesan Popcorn. But don’t stop there! We’ve got lots of flavor combinations and popcorn recipes to suit your fancy.

3. Oatmeal

In just one 1-cup serving of oatmeal (prepared from ½ cup dry quick-cooking oats), you will receive 3.8 grams of fiber. Oatmeal is a whole grain that is specifically high in soluble fiber, specifically beta-glucan. This type of fiber can help to lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health. Additionally, oatmeal is filling and can aid in healthy weight management by promoting feelings of fullness. Its fiber content also supports digestive health by promoting regular bowel movements and feeding beneficial gut bacteria. While a classic bowl of oatmeal never goes out of style, we recommend trying this Savory Oatmeal with Cheddar, Collards and Eggs for a fun and filling twist. 

4. Barley

With almost 6 grams of fiber per 1-cup serving, barley has an impressive content of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber, found in foods like barley, can help lower cholesterol levels and promotes stable blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of the sugar the oats break down into. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool, which can aid in healthy digestion and promote regular bowel movements. This combination makes barley an excellent choice for those looking to increase their fiber intake, support digestive health and potentially reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. It’s incredible in soups, like our Bean & Barley Soup, but we also love it in a salad like this Pistachio-Crusted Chicken with Warm Barley Salad.

5. Sorghum

Sorghum is often overlooked, but it’s a tasty grain with a mild, slightly sweet flavor that can enhance a variety of dishes. Its versatility allows it to be used in both sweet and savory recipes, making it a great alternative to more grains like rice or quinoa. With almost 13 grams of fiber per cup, this is one of the highest-fiber whole grains out there. Sorghum’s hearty texture and ability to absorb flavors make it an excellent base for salads, stews, pilafs and grain bowls. Plus, it’s naturally gluten-free, making it suitable for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

6. Amaranth

With 5 grams of fiber per 1-cup serving, this grain is not only rich in fiber but also is packed with protein, iron and other essential nutrients. It has a mild, nutty flavor and it’s incredibly versatile. Amaranth can be popped like popcorn, cooked into porridge, or added to soups, salads and even baked goods. It’s a great ingredient that can add texture, flavor and fiber to any diet. Give dessert a fiber-packed upgrade by making this delicious Amaranth Pudding with Amaretto Cream.

The Bottom Line

These six high-fiber whole grains offer a fantastic array of flavors, textures and nutrients to diversify your diet—especially if you want to change it up from brown rice. From the versatile quinoa to the nutty sorghum and the hearty barley, each grain brings its own unique qualities to the table. By incorporating these grains into your meals, you not only boost your fiber intake but also add depth and variety to your culinary repertoire. So, the next time you’re looking to shake up your grain game, consider giving one of these nutritious alternatives a try.

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