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Dr. Barb, the Nutrition Budgeteer

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Quinoa & Other Whole Grains Nutrition & Price Comparison Chart
Ancient grains are making a comeback in America.  Quinoa, kamut berries, and farro are all ancient grains that have been around for centuries. Quinoa, which is actually a seed, has become so popular recently, that you can often find it in your local supermarket.  Kamut berries and farro may be harder to find. We found them at some natural foods stores and online. Like many grains, when cooking farro or bulgur, use two parts water to one part grain and simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes. Farrow has a nutty flavor and a firm, chewy texture. It's very versatile and can be eaten alone, added to soups, or combined with beans, leafy vegetables, or other vegetables. Bulgur wheat, which is toasted cracked wheat, offers a real time-saving advantage as some packages of it can cook in 5 minutes (once the water is boiling); other bulgur can take 15 minutes. Brown rice, on the other hand, can take 45 to 60 minutes, but offers a wonderful, chewy texture. Kamut berries need a 3:1 ratio of water to berries and you can shorten the cooking time by about 15 minutes if you soak them overnight. Kamut has a buttery flavor and is also available as a flour (for baking) or flakes that can be prepared like oatmeal. We've seen different basic recipes for quinoa. Some suggest a ratio of 1-1/2 cups of water to 1 cup of grain. Many suggest soaking the quinoa for 15 to 30 minutes before cooking. Cooking times vary, from 15 to 30 minutes, with 5 minutes of setting time. You'll have to see what works best for you, given your time and taste preferences. 

brown jasmine


bulgur wheat* kamut berries*farro*
Serving Size1/4 cup, dry 1/4 cup, dry  1/4 cup, dry1/4 cup, dry 1/4 cup, dry 
Calories 172160 160 160 160 
Total Fat2 g  1 g 0.5 g1.0 g 0 g 
Saturated Fat0 g  0 g 0 g 0 g0 g 
Sodium1 mg  0 mg 0 mg0 mg 30 mg 
Total Carbohydrates31 g  35 g 32 g32 g  33 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g 2 g 6 g 4 g 3 g
Sugars 0 g 0 g 0 g4 g  0 g
Protein6 g  3 g5 g  7 g 7 g
Vitamin A0%  0%0% 0% 0% 
Calcium0% 0% 2% 0%  4%
Vitamin C0% 0% 0% 2% 0% 
Iron12% 6% 6% 10% 4% 
 * obtained the nutritional information given here from the Nutrition Facts package labels made by the products manufacturer. We assume the label information is accurate. We do our best to record the information as it appears. Serving sizes were obtained from the Nutrition Facts label.


Dr. Barb's Analysis: From looking at the chart above, you can see that both farro and quinoa have more protein than the rice or bulgur. The kamut berries provide the greatest amount of iron among the four items shown.  All the choices in the chart above are nutritious choices. Portion size is important, as always.
How do these same products compare from a cost point of view?

brown jasmine


bulgur wheat** kamut berries**farro**
Total Cost for Package** $4.39$3.69 $4.29 





No. of Servings per Package7.5 30 15 14 11 
Cost per Serving$0.59 $0.12 $0.29 $0.21 $0.80 
** determined the prices given here by reviewing food products at Mid-Atlantic supermarkets or stores in March 2011. If an item was found to be on sale, it is noted. Food items are either “store brand” or “branded” products. The later refers to nationally available branded products. The prices you find may vary, depending on your location and retailer.
*** The price given does not include shipping or handling fees.
Dr. Barb's Analysis: There is quite a range of costs per serving, as you can see, from $0.12 a serving to $0.80. As these grains become more popular, hopefully, they will be available at your local supermarket and the price per package will come down. Although the quinoa and farro are more expensive, they do offer a nice change of pace. All of these grains and seeds add a nice, chewy texture to pilafs, soups, stir-frys and other dishes.
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