4 Gluten-Free Grains To Keep In Your Pantry, Recommended By A Nutritionist

By | June 27, 2019

Wholegrains include the bran, germ and the endosperm of a grain and have been supported as one of the most important components of a nutritious diet. They are rich in protein, fibre and complex carbohydrates, essential for regulating blood sugar and are rich in B vitamins, helping to produce energy from the foods we eat. Looking for the best gluten-free options? Here are 4 of my favourite:

1. Quinoa

jessica sepel gluten-free grains

Image: JSHealth

Quinoa definitely makes it into one of my top pantry staples as it’s a complete protein, containing all essential amino acids. It has a low glycaemic index (making it great for blood sugar control) and is naturally gluten-free. It has higher concentrations of vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C and Vitamin E than other typical cereal grains. Quinoa is rich in soluble fibre, perfect for regulating bowl movements. I love quinoa for its ability to cook easily and how versatile it is to prepare. You could enjoy quinoa with a salad, tabouli, porridge, vegetarian patties and sushi! When preparing quinoa, it’s important to wash thoroughly and soak for 1 hour or overnight. This is because quinoa is coated with a substance called saponins. These are bitter phytochemicals which can irritate the digestive system when consumed. 

Here are some of my favourite recipes using quinoa:

My 10-Minute Quinoa Tabouli

Maple, Vanilla & Quinoa Porridge

Quinoa Sushi

Superfood Chicken Salad With Quinoa

2. Brown rice

jessica sepel gluten-free grains

Image: JSHealth

The difference between brown and white rice is acquired through the milling process. White rice contains the starchy middle layer (endosperm). Removing the bran (the outer layer), which results in a loss of fibre, protein, phosphorus, calcium and B-vitamins. Due to the fibre left on the grain, brown rice has a lower glycaemic index, meaning it is digested, absorbed and metabolised slower which causes a gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Brown rice has a nuttier flavour and is more chewy than white rice. I absolutely love adding brown rice as a side to grilled salmon, through a salad or making healthy fried rice. Check out my favourite recipe: Healthy Fried Rice with Kale, Garlic and Chilli

3. Buckwheat

jessica sepel gluten-free grains

Image: JSHealth

What would I do without buckwheat? The list of things I like to use buckwheat for are endless. Whether it’s buckwheat soba noodles, buckwheat flour in waffles and buckwheat groats to top on oats or Greek yoghurt. In contrast to wheat, buckwheat is abundant in protein, antioxidants and is gluten-free. One of the antioxidants Rutin, a flavonoid present in many plants. It contains starch for energy, fibre, minerals and possess a high antioxidant power. Have a go at making my delicious Choc-Chip Cookie Dough Blondies.

4. Wild Rice

gluten-free grains

Image: iStock

I’m loving wild rice lately as it makes the dish looks so interesting! The nutty flavour complements almost anything it is paired with. The protein content of wile rice is high with an adequate balance of amino acids. It’s also a great source of B-vitamins (specifically B1, B2 and B3), dietary fibre and vitamin E. Wild rice is rich in complex carbohydrates, therefore it’s a great source of energy. You could pair this with a delicious salad, grilled chicken or fish. You will find a delicious ‘Miso Salmon & Rice Bowl’ on my app.


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1. Graf B, Rojas-Silva P, Rojo L, Delatorre-Herrera J, Baldeón M, Raskin I. Innovations in Health Value and Functional Food Development of Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoaWilld.). Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. 2015;14(4):431-445.

2. Ravichanthiran K, Ma Z, Zhang H, Cao Y, Wang C, Muhammad S et al. Phytochemical Profile of Brown Rice and Its Nutrigenomic Implications. Antioxidants. 2018;7(6):71.

3. Li L, Lietz G, Seal C. Buckwheat and CVD Risk Markers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2018;10(5):619.

4. Umar M, Ugonor R, Kolawole S, Akin-Osanaiye C. Evaluation Of Nutritional Value Of Wild Rice From Kaduna State, Central Nigeria. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCIENTIFIC & TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH. 2013;2(7):140-147.

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