Is Quinoa Keto? The Best Grain-Free Quinoa Alternatives

For those who are on the keto diet, it may sometimes seem like there isn’t that much diversity in food choices. Some people even hesitate to try it because they mistakenly believe that they have to eat eggs and bacon and cheese and not much else. But, that is not the case at all.

In fact, there are a lot of things you can eat on the keto diet, even without all the excess carbs. But not rice, which is a carb-heavy grain. How about quinoa? It’s considered a superfood and looks like brown rice. But is it keto-friendly?

What is Quinoa?

It may resemble rice or couscous, but it’s actually a seed that originates from South America. It’s widely used in vegan and vegetarian diets because it’s an excellent source of non-animal protein. It’s also rich in B vitamins and iron, and it’s a good choice for anyone on gluten-free diets.

There are numerous types of quinoa, all versatile and delicious. However, it’s not considered keto-approved. Eating quinoa will prevent you from getting into ketosis, or it will kick you out of it. One cup of quinoa has 34g of carbs. So, in theory, you could eat some of it and then continue to monitor your macros.

Grain-Free Quinoa Alternatives

Keto diet eliminates all grains from your meals. But, grains are a big part of the standard diet, so you might find yourself wondering what could replace it. Here are some suggestions.

Cauliflower Rice

Once an unremarkable cousin of broccoli, cauliflower has achieved a complete image overhaul. Chopping cauliflower in the food processor even makes it look like rice. And the relatively bland taste makes it a great basis for a lot of mimic-meals. You can make cauliflower risotto or faux-pasta. And you can even make a cauliflower pizza crust. Apart from being a practical grain substitute, it’s very low-carb and beneficial for heart health.

Broccoli Rice

Cruciferous vegetables are very healthy and low-carb. There are some people who have some issues digesting it properly, but they are easy on your stomach overall and a crucial part of the ketogenic diet. Broccoli and quinoa taste rather similar. And if you shred broccoli, it can also have a similar texture but much lower in carb content. And that is why broccoli is a great grain-free alternative for keto dieters. Both are considered superfoods, and broccoli also contains potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin K.

Water Chestnut Rice

If you’re looking for extra crunchiness in your keto meal, you can always use water chestnuts as a grain-free quinoa alternative. Water chestnuts are an aquatic vegetable and part of the cyperaceous family. They’re full of vitamin B6, as well as potassium and copper. This low-calorie vegetable is also low in carbs. A serving has only 9g of carbs, which qualifies them as keto-friendly.

So, quinoa isn’t keto and there are some good grain-free quinoa alternatives. But, there are those who are somewhere in between, such as sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and yellow squash. Removing grains from your diet can be beneficial to your health, but it doesn’t mean you’re left without delicious alternatives.

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