Quinoa or brown rice?

Video Transcription – Quinoa or brown rice?

I want to thank my aunt Alice Wylie for the suggestion for this video. She was asking me what was better, quinoa or brown rice? Well here’s the answer Alice and thanks for your question!

They are both excellent sources of nutrition—plant sources of nutrition so you can’t go wrong with either one. These days we have a lot of variety when it comes to whole grains. Brown rice we know is definitely going to be a better option than white rice despite the fact that 70 percent of the rice consumed in the world is white rice. Brown rice definitely has a better nutritional profile.

Quinoa actually is not even a whole grain although it’s lumped into that category. It’s actually a seed. Looking at the calories and the protein, the carb and fiber and so forth, we’re going to have in a 1 cup serving of (cooked) quinoa about 222 calories versus 216 in brown rice—6 calorie difference, pretty negligible.

Protein, you have 8 grams of protein per one cup serving in the quinoa versus 5 grams in the brown rice. Both good sources of protein but quinoa would definitely have the edge there.

When it comes to fiber, they’re both excellent sources of fiber but you’ve got 5 grams in your quinoa and 3.5 in your brown rice and again that is for a one cup serving. And cholesterol, they’re both cholesterol-free like all plant products are cholesterol free.

Sodium—pretty negligible there, 10 grams in the brown rice versus 13, so really nothing to worry about. But when it comes to vitamins and minerals and the amino acid profile we’re going to be doing a little bit better with the quinoa. So it does have a bit better profile in those areas—it’s not a huge difference but it is just a little bit better.

They’re both gluten-free, wheat-free and of course dairy-free and they both can be eaten savory or sweet. As a matter of fact I have a sweet breakfast parfait here that has quinoa and Greek yogurt, apples and a little bit of almond butter, almonds and honey, so I can’t wait to eat that. (Warm Almond Quinoa Breakfast Parfait)

Warm Almond Quinoa Breakfast Sundae almonds.com

Warm Almond Quinoa Breakfast Sundae almonds.com

Most important when it comes to starchy food like quinoa and brown rice—you don’t want to go overboard. When you’re looking at a plate, you want 1/2 of your plate to be your non-starchy vegetables and ¼ of your plate starchy foods whether it’s quinoa or brown rice and then ¼ of your plate protein. So whatever you prefer, they’re lots of other whole grains to choose from.

plate method

Thanks again for your question Alice!

Thanks for watching Neily on Nutrition and we will see you in the next video!

Overall quinoa is a winner. Not by a huge margin—but it does have 3 grams more of protein per one cup serving and 1.5 grams more of fiber. It also has an overall better vitamin, mineral, and amino acid profile—but again, not enough to eat it exclusively. Like healthy diets overall, variety is key. Eat a combination of whole grains.


  1. Chere

    you make nutrition eating so easy! I love you!

    • Neily

      I love you too Chere! 🙂

  2. Dana

    Great Article! I love quinoa…I eat both brown rice and quinoa…What’s the difference b/w regular quinoa and different colored ones?…Is one more nutritious than the other?

    • Neily

      Hey Dana – Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. I do like the multicolored quinoa as well…it adds an interest of color to the plate. Nutritionally there is little difference. Apparently the white though cooks a wee faster. -Neily


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