Whole grains are a tasty and wholesome addition to your diet. Studies show three servings a day can significantly reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, whole grains provide your body with the energy it needs in a nutrient dense form. Plus, all that filling fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels and keeps you satisfied.

But what if you’re bored of brown rice? Quinoa just isn’t doing it for you? Sick of sandwiches on whole grain bread? Luckily there is a world of whole grains out there, many of which are relatively unknown. Here’s four whole grains you’ve never heard of along with ideas for enjoying them!


Millet is a very small, round whole grain that’s naturally gluten free. It was first cultivated in Asia over 8,000 years ago, but nowadays it’s a staple crop in West Africa and India. It cooks with a fluffy texture and has a mild, corn flavor. It’s rich in fiber, calcium, magnesium and iron.

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Think of amaranth like baby quinoa! Another South American pseudo-grain, amaranth looks just like tiny quinoa seeds but cooks with a thicker, porridge-like texture. Amaranth played a huge role in the Aztec diet until it was banned by the Spanish, who thought amaranth and quinoa were the source of their power. An excellent source of fiber, magnesium, manganese, selenium and iron, maybe they were right?

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Teff is a tiny ancient grain native to Ethiopia. It’s so small in fact, that the name stems from an Ethiopian word “tff,” which means lost. Because it’s so small, teff cooks quickly making it a great choice for breakfast or weeknight meals. Like millet and amaranth, teff is also gluten free. Teff is most famously used to make injera, the Ethiopian flatbread used like silverware to scoop up richly spiced stews.

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Despite the funny sounding name, freekeh is actually just wheat which has been harvested while still young and green. The grain is then roasted over an open fire to create a grain with a chewy texture and rich, almost smoky flavor. It’s rich in fiber, iron, zinc and calcium and contains prebiotic fibers to feed the good bacteria in your gut. So go get your freekeh on! Sorry…

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Try a few recipes and let us know what you think! Share your thoughts in the comments.

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