The 10 Highest Protein Grains to Add to Your Diet

|Updated Jul 29, 2022
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Don't let their small size fool you – grains are rich in iron, calcium, and B vitamins but also high in protein! Grains are a vital addition to any breakfast, lunch, or dinner recipe, to fill you up and satisfy you. Start your day with the high protein grain oatmeal or cornmeal pancakes or try making popped sorghum instead of popcorn for your next movie night.

Here's exactly how to add more high-protein grains into your diet.

The average woman needs about 45 to 50 grams of protein a day and the average man requires 10 grams more than that. To calculate how much protein you need in your daily diet, do this simple equation: Calculate 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For a 150-pound woman, that's about 55 grams of protein per day. For a 170-pound man, the RDA would be 61 grams of protein per day. Athletes may need up to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, so if you are training hard for something you could double that number.

10 High Protein Grains to Add to Your Diet

The 10 Highest Protein Grains to Add to Your Diet

Oats have 26.4 grams of protein per cup or 4.7 grams per ounce.

1. Oats

Oats can be used in much more than oatmeal. Make protein oat muffins with oat flower. In Great Britain, Beer is actually made from oats. 1 cup equals Protein - 26.4g Calories - 607 Carbs - 103g Calcium - 84.3mg

Buckwheat has 22.5 grams of protein per cup or 3.7 grams per ounce.

2. Buckwheat

Although buckwheat is prepared like a grain, it is technically a seed. You might think buckwheat is off limits if you are gluten-free, but don’t let the name fool you. It is completely gluten-free!. Buckwheat noodles make a great base for an asian salad. 1 cup equals Protein - 22.5g Calories - 583 Carbs - 122g Calcium - 30.6mg

Cornmeal has 22.5 grams of protein per cup or 3.7 grams per ounce.

3. Cornmeal

Cornmeal is famously known to be the star ingredient in cornbread, but it can also be used in pancakes. Check out the Minimalist Baker recipe for Vegan Cornmeal Pancakes for your next breakfast. 1 cup (whole-grain, yellow) equals Protein - 9.9g Calories - 442 Carbs - 93.8g Calcium - 7.3mg

Sorghum has 21.7 grams of protein per cup or 3.2 per ounce.

4. Sorghum

Sorghum can be popped just like corn. The process is simple and the product is healthy. To pop: Heat a pan and throw in the tiny sorghum grains. You don’t need to put any oil in the pan but olive oil or avocado oil are tasty choices. 1 cup equals Protein - 21.7g Calories - 651 Carbs - 143g Calcium - 53.8mg

Teff has 9.8 grams of protein per cup or 1.1 grams per ounce.

5. Teff

Teff was originally a grass grown in northern Africa, but now you can buy it everywhere. One cup of cooked Teff has 123 mg of calcium, which is the same amount as a 1/2 a cup of cooked spinach. Teff is great in porridge and desserts. Sneak in some protein to your next Vegan Banana Bread recipe with teff flour. 1 cup equals Protein - 9.8g Calories - 255 Carbs - 50.0g

Amaranth has 9.3 grams of protein per cup or 1.1 grams per ounce.

6. Amaranth

Amaranth is actually a seed but is categorized as a grain for it's starchy consistency. Use it instead of hot cereal or as a warm grain in your salad bowl. 1 cup equals Protein - 9.3g Calories - 251 Carbs - 46.0g Calcium - 116mg

Quinoa has 8.1 grams of protein per cup or 1.2 grams per ounce.

7. Quinoa

Quinoa belongs to the same family as spinach and beets. The quinoa you grab at the grocery store is actually the seeds from the quinoa plant. Order it in your salad to add fiber, protein and filling grain to your plate. 1 cup equals Protein - 8.1g Calories - 222 Carbs - 39.4g Calcium - 31.5mg

Wild Rice has 6.5 grams of protein per cup or 1.1 grams per ounce.

8. Wild Rice

Wild rice is a food to always keep on hand since it doesn’t expire if properly stored in a cool, dry place. Once cooked, wild rice can be refrigerated for one week and frozen for six months. 1 cup equals Protein - 6.5g Calories - 166 Carbs - 35 g Calcium - 4.9 mg

Couscous has 5.9 grams of protein per cup or just under 1.1 grams per ounce.

9. Couscous

Couscous is technically pasta (who knew?) but is often associated with grains because of its small size. Couscous was traditionally shaped by hand and you can still buy the hand made ones, which are more interesting than the processed shaped ones. 1 cup equals Protein - 5.9g Calories - 176 Carbs - 36.5g Calcium - 12.6mg

Kamut has 4 grams of protein per cup or 1.8 grams per ounce.

10. Kamut

Kamut, or Oreintal wheat, is an ancient grain that first came from the area that is now Afghanistan. It has a rich nutty and buttery taste. If you're planning on serving kamut for dinner, make sure you plan ahead, since you need to soak this grain for at least 12 hours, or overnight, before cooking. 1 cup equals Protein - 11.1 g Calories - 251 Carbs - 52.4g

6 Seeds With the Most Protein

Pumpkin seeds have 9.2 grams per ounce.

1. Pumpkin Seeds

The nutrients in a pumpkin seed are actually in the white shell. Bake them in a 300 degree oven with light seasoning or just salt for a minimum of 45 minutes and snack as you carve away. 1 ounce equal Protein - 9.2g Calories - 146 Carbs - 3.8g Calcium - 12mg

Hemp seeds have 7.31 grams per ounce.

2. Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds and marijuana come from the same plant, Cannabis sativa. The difference is that they are extracted from different parts of the plant (pot is the leaves, hemp is the seed). Hemp seeds also have .3% traces of THC, the euphoria-producing ingredient in pot, whereas marijuana contains anywhere from .4% and up depending on the strain. 1 ounce equals Protein - 6.3 g Calories - 110.7 Carbs - 1.7 g Calcium - 1.1%

Sunflower seeds have 5.4 grams per ounce.

3. Sunflower

Sunflower seeds come from the middle of the flower head. The type of sunflower seed is based on what sunflower hybrid it comes from. The two types fall under the category oilseed or non-oilseed type. 2 tablespoons equal Protein - 5.4g Calories - 163 Carbs - 6.7g Calcium - 19.6mg

Flaxseeds have 5.1 grams per ounce.

4. Flax Seeds

Flax seeds are better digested if they are ground up. Whole seeds are harder to digest because of their shells. Quick tip: If you buy whole seeds, use a coffee grinder to make your own ground flax seeds and store in an airtight container for freshness. 1 ounce equals Protein - 5.1g Calories - 150 Carbs - 8.1 g Calcium - 71.4mg

Sesame seeds have 4.7 grams per ounce.

5. Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds can be used as a garnish or in the base of a smooth tahini sauce. Combine 2 cups of sesame seeds with a couple of tablespoons of avocado in a food processor and the product is a tahini to use on a salad or veggies. 1 ounce equals Protein - 4.7g Calories - 158 Carbs - 7.2g Calcium - 277mg

Chia seeds have 4.4 grams per ounce.

6. Chia Seeds

Because they can be used as an egg replacement, chia seeds make vegan baking easy. Combine one tablespoon of chia seeds with two to three tablespoons of water to make a single egg replacement for your next cake or brownies. 1 ounce equals Protein - 4.4g Calories - 137 Carbs - 12.3g Calcium - 177mg

11 Nuts With the Most Protein

Peanuts have 7.31 grams per ounce or 37.7 grams of protein per cup.

1. Peanuts

Peanuts are actually not nuts—they're legumes which grow underground, so they are in the same family as chickpeas, soybeans and lentils. Crazy stunt: Scientists have made diamonds out of peanuts by putting them under enormous pressure. 1 ounce equals Protein - 7.31 g Calories - 161 Carbs - 4.57 g Fiber - 2.41 g Calcium - 26.1 mg

Almonds have 6 grams per ounce or 30.2 grams of protein per cup.

2. Almonds

Almonds are part of the cherry, peach, and mango family, since they are a drupe (a fleshy fruit with skin thin and central seed). When you eat a peach or mango, notice how the pit looks similar to an almond. There are over 30 different varieties and eight out of 10 almonds are grown in California. It takes over 1 gallon of water to produce a single almond, or 1900 gallons to grow 1 pound. 1 ounce equals Protein - 6g Calories - 164 Carbs - 6.11g Fiber - 3.5 g Calcium - 76.3mg

Pistachios have 5.72 grams per ounce or 25.3 grams of protein per cup.

3. Pistachios

Pistachios are one of the oldest nut trees in the world. Humans ate pistachios as early as 7,000 B.C. They spread across the Middle East to the Mediterranean and were viewed as a royal delicacy. 1 ounce equals Protein - 5.72 g Calories - 159 Carbs - 7.7 g Fiber - 3 g Calcium - 29.8 mg

Cashews have 5.16 grams per ounce or 28.6 grams of protein per cup.

4. Cashews

Get ready, because November 23rd is National Cashew Day! The U.S eats over 90% of the world’s cashews. These tree nuts start out as apples. Harvesters then take the seed from the bottom of the apple and before the seed is roasted, it is usually green. Roasting or steaming the cashew neutralizes the oils and makes them safe to eat—meaning raw cashews aren't *truly* raw. 1 ounce equals Protein - 5.16 g Calories - 157 Carbs - 8.56 g Fiber - 0.936 g Calcium - 10.5 mg

Walnuts have 4.32 grams per ounce (in halves) or 17.8 grams of protein per cup (chopped).

5. Walnuts

Walnuts contain more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other nut, so they are an excellent brain food to boost memory (they even look like little brains!). To keep them fresher longer, store walnuts in the fridge or freezer, since they have a tendency to go rancid quickly. 1 ounce equals Protein - 4.32g Calories - 185 Carbs - 3.89g Fiber - 1.9g Calcium - 27.8mg

Hazelnuts have 4.24 grams per ounce or 20.2 grams of protein per cup.

6. Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts contain healthy doses of fiber, folate and vitamin E. Hazelnut oil is so rich it's used in combination with palm oil for cleaning and polishing wood. We love them with dark chocolate. 1 ounce equals Protein - 4.24 g Calories - 178 Carbs - 4.73 g Fiber - 2.75 g Calcium - 32.3 mg

Brazil nuts have 4.06 grams per ounce 19 grams of protein per cup.

7. Brazil Nuts

It is illegal to cut down a Brazil nut tree, which live for up to 500 years. These are like the candy of the nut family since a cup has 876 calories, and each nut is 85% fat and 14% protein. They're rich in selenium, a mineral prized for thyroid support. 1 ounce equals Protein - 4.06 g Calories - 187 Carbs - 3.33 g Fiber - 2.13 g Calcium - 45.4 mg

Pine nuts have 3.88 grams per ounce 18.5 grams of protein per cup.

8. Pine Nuts

Pine nut is another type of seed that is clumped in with the nuts. They are so expensive because they are tedious to gather. They grow in the pine cone, but you generally can't consume pine nuts from a pine cone you'd find in your park or backyard as not all pine nuts are edible. Most of the pine nuts you eat come from the stone pine tree in Asia, Europe and North America. 1 ounce equals Protein - 3.88 g Calories - 191 Carbs - 3.71 g Fiber - 1.05 g Calcium - 4.54 mg

Pecans have 2.6 grams per ounce (in halves) or 9.08 grams of protein per cup (in halves).

9. Pecans

French people who settled in New Orleans created the first pecan pie, since pecans are native to the southern US. On average, 78 pecans are used in one pie. There are over 1,000 varieties of pecans, and many are named after Native American tribes. 1 ounce equals Protein - 2.6g Calories - 196 Carbs - 3.93 g Fiber - 2.72 g Calcium - 19.8 mg

Macadamia nuts have 2.24 grams per ounce or 10.6 grams of protein per cup.

10. Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are actually seeds. It takes 12-15 years for a macadamia tree to grow to its full size. Most of the world’s macadamia nuts come from Hawaii. They are high in carbs and protein, but keep these nuts away from dogs since they make them sick. 1 ounce equals Protein - 2.24 g Calories - 204 Carbs - 3.92 g Fiber - 2.44 g Calcium - 24.1 mg

Chestnuts have 1.19 grams per ounce.

11. Chestnuts

Chestnuts are the only nut that contains vitamin C. The trees were hit by blight in the nineties and 3 billion trees were eventually wiped out. Chestnuts are used in beer and cake and eaten creamed around the holidays. Chestnut flour is gluten-free, making it a great alternative for cookies, pies and stuffing. 1 ounce equals Protein - 1.19g Calories - 63.5 Carbs - 13.9g Calcium - 5.1mg