Healthy whole-grain foods, such as whole-wheat bread, are those that contain the entire grain kernel—the bran, endosperm, and germ. Refined grains, such as white flour and white rice, contain only the endosperm.

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This distinction is important because the bran and germ are where most of the healthy stuff—antioxidants, B vitamins, fiber, magnesium, and other nutrients—is found. Though opting for healthy whole-grain versions of bread and cereals is a good idea, the best way to get your whole grains is to eat them in their most natural state—meaning the grain itself. We’re talking grains such as bulgur and oats, as well as these less familiar but highly nutritious whole grains.

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Amaranth

Serve with fruits and nuts as a hot cereal, or with thyme or other herbs as a side dish.

  • Per 1 cup cooked
  • Calories 251
  • Protein (g) 9
  • Fat (g) 4
  • Carbohydrates (g) 46
  • Fiber (g) 5
  • Per 1 cup cooked
  • Calories 251
  • Protein (g) 9
  • Fat (g) 4
  • Carbohydrates (g) 46
  • Fiber (g) 5

Freekeh

This roasted, young, green wheat can be used in any recipe in place of rice.

  • Per 1 cup cooked
  • Calories 173
  • Protein (g) 8
  • Fat (g) 1
  • Carbohydrates (g) 37
  • Fiber (g) 5
  • Per 1 cup cooked
  • Calories 173
  • Protein (g) 8
  • Fat (g) 1
  • Carbohydrates (g) 37
  • Fiber (g) 5

Millet

To enhance flavor, toast in a skillet before boiling. Add to salads or soups. And millet flour can be used for baking.

  • Per 1 cup cooked
  • Calories 207
  • Protein (g) 6
  • Fat (g) 2
  • Carbohydrates (g) 41
  • Fiber (g) 2
  • Per 1 cup cooked
  • Calories 207
  • Protein (g) 6
  • Fat (g) 2
  • Carbohydrates (g) 41
  • Fiber (g) 2

Quinoa

Rinse before cooking. Use as a base for chili or soup, or serve with herbs and onion as a side dish.

  • Per 1 cup cooked
  • Calories 222
  • Protein (g) 8
  • Fat (g) 4
  • Carbohydrates (g) 39
  • Fiber (g) 5
  • Per 1 cup cooked
  • Calories 222
  • Protein (g) 8
  • Fat (g) 4
  • Carbohydrates (g) 39
  • Fiber (g) 5

Teff

This tiny grain can be used in place of rice in a pilaf or a porridge, or stirred into chili or soup.

  • Per 1 cup cooked
  • Calories 255
  • Protein (g) 10
  • Fat (g) 2
  • Carbohydrates (g) 50
  • Fiber (g) 7
  • Per 1 cup cooked
  • Calories 255
  • Protein (g) 10
  • Fat (g) 2
  • Carbohydrates (g) 50
  • Fiber (g) 7

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the November 2017 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.