Like me, many of you have removed wheat and gluten from your diets. I still enjoy the satisfaction these foods can give me but now I have changed over to healthier options. If you enjoy grains, try and switch over to these healthier choices. You might even call them “great grains”.

Quinoa, barley, brown rice, bulgur, buckwheat and, yes, even popcorn!

Some of these favorites are grains but are complex carbs with all their fiber and nutrients intact. They are highly recommended over refined grains. A great example of a refined grain is white rice where the bran and germ are stripped along with most of it’s fiber.

Quinoa is a complete protein and contains all of the 9 essential amino acids our bodies need but can’t make. It’s actually my favorite “great grain” as it’s very tasty and our bodies digest it more like a vegetable. Read more here.

Barley is a whole grain and is high in fiber, protein and other numerous health benefits. Barley is packed with fiber – 3 grams per 1/2 cup cooked. I add it cooked to salads or toss in soups. They soak up a lot of the liquids, so best to add it towards the end and use only a small handful.

Brown rice is a whole grain. It is a source of numerous nutrients, including fiber, magnesium, zinc and vitamin B-6.

Bulgar is a derivative of wheat, but undergoes minimal processing so it still retains its nutritional value and is considered to be a form of whole wheat. Bulgar is known for a delicious breakfast cereal but also makes for a great pilaf. Bulgar is low in fat, high in fiber and rich in minerals.

Popcorn counts as a “great grain”! (it’s a grain if harvested only once it’s dried.) Healthiest way to eat popcorn is popped with an air popper or cooked in coconut oil. Drizzle a wee bit of (healthy fat) butter over it and sprinkle with Himalayan pink salt. Click here for my favorite way to make popcorn.

Buckwheat is not actually wheat even though it has wheat in it’s name. It’s actually a fruit seed and loaded with nutrition. Buckwheat is gluten free and contains eight essential amino acids and is very high in protein and soluble fiber. Great added to a salad.