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Is Quinoa Keto?

May 06, 2020

Is Quinoa Keto?

It’s a superfood, just maybe not for you.


This South American treat has been all the rage over the past few years, becoming a health food staple synonymous with healthy living. A single cup of cooked quinoa has 8.1 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and provides 15% of your recommended daily iron intake. 

It’s gluten-free, utilized as a meat alternative, and more substantial rice substitute.

Quinoa can be a great tool in the average person’s diet, but it can seriously throw off your keto flow.

Here’s why quinoa isn’t Keto-Kosher: 

While most are quick to point out that quinoa is a grain, it’s actually a seed. Before you get excited about potentially finding a loophole, hold tight. Quinoa is high in protein, but it’s also high carb.

Quinoa has a higher density of nutrition than most grains, but it comes at a cost. One cup of cooked quinoa has 8.1 grams of protein, but 34 grams of net carbs. Through the keto lens, that’s not a favorable ratio. When most experience ketosis at less than 20-50 grams of net carbs per day, quinoa can really throw a wrench in your hard work. 

Here’s how to get your quinoa fix:

There are simply better ways to get what quinoa provides while still being keto-friendly.

Something to put sauce onInstead of reaching for quinoa or rice, throw some keto sauces on riced cauliflower or riced broccoli, asparagus, zoodles, spaghetti squash, or shirataki noodles for some great alternatives! Boom. Quinoa who?

Something to fill you up: Adding healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, butter, and avocados to your meal to make you feel more satiated without the midday carb-crash or brain fog.

Something with protein: Meat, fish, eggs – the usual suspects are great sources of protein.

Something protein-y for herbivores: Tempeh, tofu, seitan, hummus, nuts, and seeds are great low carb, high protein resources for our animal-loving friends, allowing you to lay off the quinoa.

Something with iron: iron is an essential mineral that helps transport oxygen throughout the body. If you utilize quinoa as an iron resource, try spinach, Swiss chard, beef, octopus, or oysters as a low-carb, high iron alternative.

Something with fiber: Avocados, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, blackberries, flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and walnuts can all help in weight loss and maintenance, cholesterol management, and digestion. What’s more, each Sated Keto Meal Shake has 5g fiber and 3g prebiotic fiber for a happy and healthy gut. 

So, is quinoa keto-friendly? Not really. You can try and make it fit, but it’s not worth the carbs. There are plenty of other options out there that will provide you with the same or more protein, fiber, and other nutrients without the carb-busting count!