Millet and quinoa are both healthy and increasing in popularity. For this reason many people wonder if one is better than the other. Therefore, what is better millet or quinoa?
Quinoa is better than millet due to its higher percentage of fiber, B vitamins and minerals. Quinoa is a complete protein meaning it provides all nine essential amino acids, millet does not. Quinoa has a better glycemic index than millet resulting in lower blood sugar levels after consumption.
This article will include a complete comparison between the two including a side-by-side nutrient comparison. In addition, I’ll examine their tastes, textures, prices, glycemic index, satiety index and health benefits.
Keto Bread Tip: Great News! Did you know, you don’t have to give up your favorite bread, pizza or sandwiches to follow a 100% Keto diet. Find out more in the KetoBreads website by clicking here, Keto Breads.
Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Millet vs Quinoa: The Differences
Many people aren’t familiar with one of the two foods or both. Therefore, a common question asked, is millet the same as quinoa?
Quinoa is the seed from a Chenopodium quinoa plant while millet is a seed belonging to the Poaceae family, the grass family. Quinoa is not a grain but it is cooked in water and consumed like a grain. In the U.S. millet is used more for bird seed than human consumption. Quinoa are shaped more oval than the smaller, rounder millet.
Other differences between millet and quinoa:
- Millet comes in white, red, yellow and gray colors. Common quinoa colors are white, red and black.
- Millet costs less money than quinoa.
- Quinoa provides a higher percentage of nutrients, especially protein and fiber.
- Millet is more difficult to find in supermarkets.
- Quinoa has a better glycemic index than millet.
Some similarities between millet and quinoa:
- They both have a mild taste and may be slightly sweet depending on their color.
- Quinoa and millet are both cooked by boiling in water.
- Millet and quinoa have a similar number of calories.
- Quinoa and millet are both gluten free.
Millet vs Quinoa: Nutrient Comparison
Millet and quinoa contain many of the same nutrients, although there are key differences between the two. Different types of millet and quinoa may vary slightly in their nutrient content.
The following table is a side-by-side comparison of the nutrients contained in a 100-gram serving of cooked millet and cooked quinoa.
|Millet (100 g)||Quinoa (100 g)|
|Protein||3.51 g||4.40 g|
|Carbohydrates||23.7 g||21.3 g|
|Fiber||1.3 g||2.8 g|
|Fat||1.00 g||1.92 g|
|Sugar||0.13 g||0.87 g|
|Vitamin A||3 IU||5 IU|
|Beta-carotene||2 mcg||0 mcg|
|Vitamin C||0 mg||0 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.10 mg||0.12 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||19 mcg||42 mcg|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.10 mg||0.10 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.08 mg||0.11 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||1.33 mg||0.41 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||0.17 mg||0.33 mg|
|Magnesium||44 mg||64 mg|
|Phosphorous||100 mg||152 mg|
|Potassium||62 mg||172 mg|
|Iron||0.63 mg||1.49 mg|
|Copper||0.25 mg||0.19 mg|
|Calcium||16 mg||17 mg|
|Zinc||0.91 mg||1.09 mg|
Millet and quinoa contain the same types of nutrients. At first glance it may be difficult to determine which one provides a higher percentage of nutrients than the other. This causes many people to ask, which is more healthier millet or quinoa?
Quinoa is healthier than millet due to its higher percentage of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Quinoa provides more B6, folate, riboflavin, B5, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron calcium and zinc than millet. Quinoa has a better glycemic index resulting in less blood sugar levels.
Quinoa is a complete protein meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids. Most grain foods, including millet don’t contain all nine amino acids.
Millet is healthy and does provide a good number of nutrients, just less than quinoa. Millet provides a higher percentage of niacin and copper and fewer sugar and total fat. Both foods contain a similar amount of thiamin.
Millet or Quinoa – Which to Choose
While quinoa contains more nutrients, both foods are considered healthy. Some people prefer choosing just one, other people may want to alternate between the two for variety.
Some people choose food fitting their particular goals. Let’s examine some of these goals and determine which food is better for them.
Low-carb or Keto Diet
If your goal is a Keto or low-carb diet then carbohydrates may be your number one concern. If you’re on a low-carb diet, you may ask which has more carbohydrates, millet or quinoa?
Quinoa contains 11% less carbohydrates per 100 grams cooked than millet making it better for a low-carb diet. Quinoa contains 21.3 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams cooked. Millet contains 23.7 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams cooked.
Another consideration for low-carb diets is the amount of fat and protein. Quinoa provides 1.92 grams of fat and 4.4 grams of protein per 100 grams cooked. Millet provides 1.0 grams of fat and 3.5 grams of protein.
Weight loss may be the most common goal of all. If you want to lose extra pounds from the mid-section, you may ask, which is better for weight loss, millet or quinoa?
Quinoa is better for weight loss than millet due to its higher percentage of protein, fiber and a better glycemic index. They both have a similar number of calories per serving. Quinoa contains 120 calories per 100 grams cooked. Millet contains 119 calories per 100 grams cooked.
The one calorie difference isn’t large enough to make a difference in total calories consumed.
Quinoa has a lower glycemic index and higher percentage of fiber and protein. This means less blood sugar increases, an increased feeling of fullness and slower digestion. This has been associated in some studies helping weight loss.
Millet and quinoa are naturally gluten free. In addition, both can be made into flour and used as a substitute for regular flour in gluten free recipes.
My Vitamix blender I use at home can make quinoa, millet, almond, cashew or any nut flour in seconds. Check out my blender review here, Vitamix Venturist V1220 Review.
If you’re bodybuilding or just have a goal to gain lean muscle mass, there’s a good chance you’re lifting weights at the gym or home. Which is better for bodybuilding, millet or quinoa?
Quinoa is better than millet for bodybuilding due to its higher percentage of protein, vitamins and minerals. Quinoa provides 4.40 grams of protein per 100 grams cooked. Millet provides 3.51 grams of protein per 100 grams cooked.
This means quinoa provides 25% more protein than millet. The extra amount of protein, vitamins and minerals help to repair and build new muscle after exercise.
Supplements for bodybuilding are expensive, and the costs add up pretty fast. Considering the price of both, millet costs less than quinoa.
You’d have to decide whether the difference in price makes up for fewer grams of protein. For more details about the prices check out the price section of this article down further.
Millet vs Quinoa: Taste and Texture
Besides the nutrients, many people choose one food over the other because of its taste. Since there are some similarities between the two, many people wonder and ask, does millet and quinoa taste the same?
Millet and quinoa have a mild flavor. Millet is nuttier than the blander quinoa and both may be sweeter depending on the color. White quinoa and millet are light and fluffy. Red and black quinoa are chewier than millet and white quinoa.
What does quinoa taste like?
Quinoa has a mild flavor and is unsweet and not bitter. It has a slightly nutty flavor, and its texture is fluffy and chewy. Quinoa which isn’t rinsed or pre rinsed prior to cooking may taste bitter. Red and black quinoa is chewier than the white colored quinoa.
What does millet taste like?
Millet has an earthy, mild flavor. It is slightly sweet with a hint of nuttiness. It will take on the flavor of ingredients added to the mixture. Millet has a light and fluffy texture.
I decided to poll my clients, readers and people in food groups I belong to. I asked them, do you prefer the taste of millet or quinoa?
- 59% said they preferred the taste of quinoa.
- 33% said they preferred the taste of millet.
- 8% said they had no preference.
How to Cook Millet
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small pot.
- Add 1 cup of millet and salt to taste. Return to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until tender. About 20 minutes.
- Drain off any remaining water and serve.
How to Cook Red Quinoa
Most store bought quinoa is pre-rinsed, if it is not pre-rinsed the red quinoa should be rinsed to avoid a bitter taste.
- In a pot combine 1 cup of red quinoa with 2 cups of water or broth.
- Bring to a rolling boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer until liquid is evaporated (about 15 minutes).
- Let stand 5 minutes then fluff with a fork and serve.
- Salt or add spices to taste.
How to Cook White Quinoa
Most store bought quinoa is pre-rinsed, if it is not pre-rinsed the white quinoa should be rinsed to avoid a bitter taste.
- In a pot combine 1 cup of white quinoa with 2 cups of water or broth.
- Bring to a rolling boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer until liquid is evaporated (about 10-15 minutes).
- Let stand 5 minutes then fluff with a fork and serve.
- Salt or add spices to taste.
Quinoa cooking tips:
- Red quinoa takes about 3-5 minutes longer to cook.
- Quinoa is done when the liquid is absorbed.
- If it’s properly cooked, you can see little, curled ends.
- 1 cup of dry quinoa makes about 3 1/2 to 4 cups cooked.
- Quinoa should be cooked and not eaten raw.
- For finicky kids, consider adding small amounts of quinoa to cookies, salads, meatballs or even macaroni and cheese.
Check out 13 healthy substitutes for quinoa in my article, Quinoa Replacements: 13 Healthy Substitutes.
Substituting Millet and Quinoa
When someone buys millet, a common question asked is, can I substitute millet for quinoa?
Millet can substitute for quinoa and both are interchangeable with each other in recipes, side dishes, salads and baking. Both can substitute in gluten free dishes as quinoa and millet are naturally gluten free. When substituting millet for quinoa use equal amounts called for in the recipe.
The best substitutes for quinoa are:
The best substitutes for millet are:
Find out how quinoa compared to lentils in my article, Quinoa vs Lentils:Which is Better? A Complete Comparison.
Millet vs Quinoa: Glycemic Index
Avoiding blood sugar spikes is an important part of consuming healthy food. This is true for diabetics or anyone worrying about their health 3. For this reason, the glycemic index of food is important.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale measuring how fast a particular food raises the blood sugar in the blood 4. Blood sugar spikes can lead to health complications with the heart, nerves, kidneys and eyes 5.
Foods on the GI scale are categorized as:
- Low-GI foods: 55 or under
- Medium-GI foods: 56-69
- High-GI foods: 70 or over
How blood sugars levels are affected:
- Foods with a glycemic index 70 or more cause a quicker spike in blood sugar levels.
- Foods with a glycemic index 56 to 69 cause a moderate spike in blood sugar levels.
- Foods with a glycemic index 55 or less cause a slow spike in blood sugar levels.
Knowing more about the glycemic index of food and how it raises blood sugar, many people ask, does millet or quinoa have a better glycemic index?
Quinoa has a better glycemic index than millet making it more desirable for diabetics. Quinoa is a low GI food while millet is a medium GI food.
- The glycemic index for millet ranges from 54 to 68 depending on the type of millet.
- Finger millet has a glycemic index of 65.
- Red quinoa cooked in boiling water for 15 minutes has a glycemic index of 54.
- White quinoa cooked in boiling water for 15 minutes has a glycemic index of 50.
After boiling red quinoa has a glycemic load of 24 and white quinoa 23. Finger millet has a glycemic load of 16.
Find out how white and red quinoa compared to each other in my article, Red Quinoa vs White Quinoa: What’s The Difference?
Millet vs Quinoa: Satiety Index
Satiety is a term used to explain the feeling of being full and the loss of appetite which occurs after eating food. The satiety index is a scale showing how full a person feels after eating a certain food.
The satiety index was developed in 1995 from a study which tested 38 foods. The foods were ranked how they satisfied a person’s hunger. Foods scoring under 100 are considered less filling and foods scoring above 100 are considered more filling 6.
The table below shows the satiety scores of oats, lentils, rice and a few other filling foods.
|Food||Satiety Index Score|
Unfortunately, millet or quinoa was not one of the 38 foods tested. A study in 2005, by the University of Milan, tested the satiety of quinoa, oats and buckwheat compared to eating rice. All three had a higher satiating efficiency than rice 7.
A study published in 2021 compared the satiety and glycemic response of millet couscous, pasta, potatoes and white rice. The millet based food had a significantly higher glycemic response, lower hunger ratings and higher fullness ratings than white rice 8.
Since rice has satiety scores of 132% and 138%, we may be able to assume millet and quinoa has a higher satiety score than 138%.
High satiety food like millet and quinoa are likely to have a high satiety score for the following reasons:
- High in protein.
- High in fiber.
- High in volume (foods containing a lot of water or air).
- Low in energy density (foods low in calories for their weight).
Find out how white quinoa compared to black quinoa in my article, White Quinoa vs Black Quinoa: What’s The Difference?
Millet vs Quinoa: Price
It seems every supermarket visit results in a higher price at checkout than the last time. Unless you hit the lottery, the cost of food certainly matters to most, especially with the rising costs of everything.
Therefore, the price may sway your decision about which one to use in your meals more often. Let’s examine, which costs more, millet or quinoa?
Quinoa costs 170% more per 1/4 cup than millet. The average price for quinoa is $0.57 per 1/4 cup. The average cost for millet is $0.21 per 1/4 cup.
There didn’t seem to be a difference in price between white or tri-color quinoa in every store I checked. The red and black quinoa cost more than the white.
The prices for both foods vary depending on the store, location and sales offered.
I decided to conduct a search of various different stores to compare the price of millet and quinoa.
I checked Shoprite supermarket for the prices of millet and quinoa:
- Wholesome Pantry White Quinoa
- $3.99 per 12 oz bag (7 servings) equaling $0.57 per 1/4 cup serving.
- Wholesome Pantry Tri-Color (White, Red, Black)
- $3.99 per 12 oz bag (7 servings) equaling $0.57 per 1/4 cup serving.
- Bob’s Red Mill Millet
- $3.79 per 28 oz bag (18 servings) equaling $0.21 per 1/4 cup serving.
I then checked Walmart for the prices of millet and quinoa:
- Food to Live White Quinoa
- $10.99 per 1 pound bag
- Food to Live Organic Red Quinoa
- $13.48 per 1 pound bag
- Food to Live organic millet
- $12.99 per 1 pound bag
Millet vs Quinoa: Health Benefits
Although the nutrients provided by quinoa is more, the nutrients and benefits contained in both are similar. Therefore, quinoa may be more effective in some benefit categories.
The following describes how each nutrient may benefit health.
Quinoa has a higher percentage of minerals than millet. Let’s take a closer look at some of these minerals and how they benefit health.
- Cooked quinoa contains 172 mg of potassium per 100 grams.
- Cooked millet contains 62 mg of potassium per 100 grams.
Cooked quinoa provides 180% more potassium than cooked millet per 100 grams.
Potassium helps the body get rid of excess sodium reducing fluid build-up. These help keep systolic and diastolic blood pressure lower 9.
Some medical experts recommend the potassium to sodium ratio of 4:1. Consuming too much sodium or not enough potassium throws off the delicate balance the kidneys need to remove the excess water 10.
According to Harvard Health, a number of studies have shown a connection between low potassium levels and high blood pressure 11. The more potassium, the more sodium your body will lose.
- Cooked quinoa contains 64 mg of magnesium per 100 grams.
- Cooked millet contains 44 mg of magnesium per 100 grams.
Cooked quinoa provides 45% more magnesium than cooked millet per 100 grams.
Magnesium helps keep blood pressure levels stable and balanced. Recent scientific research examined previous studies and concluded magnesium supplementation decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure 12.
Magnesium helps control the following:
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar
- Nerve function
In the heart and muscles, magnesium competes with calcium to help the muscles relax after contracting. When the body is low in magnesium, calcium can over stimulate the heart muscle’s cells causing a rapid or irregular heartbeat 13.
One reason many people supplement with magnesium in the evening is because it helps calm the whole body including blood vessels.
- Cooked quinoa contains 17 mg of calcium per 100 grams.
- Cooked millet contains 16 mg of calcium per 100 grams.
Cooked quinoa provides 6% more calcium than cooked millet per 100 grams.
Calcium is important for the heart and blood pressure. Harvard Health reports calcium helps maintain blood pressure by helping in the controlling of the relaxing and tightening of blood vessels 14.
Calcium also helps the following:
- Help the muscles to function properly.
- Helps nerve function.
- Maintain and build strong bones.
- Cooked quinoa contains 152 mg of phosphorus per 100 grams.
- Cooked millet contains 100 mg of phosphorus per 100 grams.
Cooked quinoa provides 52% more phosphorus than cooked millet per 100 grams.
Phosphorus has been shown in scientific studies to help with the following:
- Muscle recovery and contraction.
- Promote healthy nerve conduction.
- Promote bone and teeth strength.
- Help the kidneys remove waste.
- Help the body manage and store energy.
- Cooked quinoa contains 1.49 mg of iron per 100 grams.
- Cooked millet contains 0.63 mg of iron per 100 grams.
Cooked quinoa provides 135% more iron than cooked millet per 100 grams.
Iron is essential in the creation of red blood cells and is a necessary part of any healthy diet. Iron is also vital for growth and development, as some hormones need iron to be appropriately balanced 15.
Find out how bulgur compared to quinoa in my article, Bulgur vs Quinoa: Which is Better? A Complete Comparison.
Quinoa provides a higher percentage of four of the six B vitamins listed below. The B vitamins provided include the following:
- B1 (thiamin) (Even)
- B2 (riboflavin) (Quinoa provides more riboflavin than millet)
- B3 (niacin) (Millet provides more niacin than quinoa)
- B5 (Quinoa provides more B5 than millet)
- B6 (Quinoa provides more B6 than millet)
- B9 (folate) (Quinoa provides more folate than millet)
B vitamins help support the following:
- Brain function.
- Red blood cells.
- Nerve function.
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Energy levels.
A lack of B vitamins has been associated with oxidative stress and neural inflammation.
In a study released in 2018 32 healthy adults were given B vitamin supplementation for six months. The results indicated preliminary evidence B vitamin supplementation reduced oxidative stress and inflammation 16.
Find out how quinoa compared to barley in my article, Barley vs Quinoa: Which is Better? A Complete Comparison.
Macros & Fiber
- Cooked quinoa contains 2.8 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
- Cooked millet contains 1.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
Cooked quinoa provides 115% more fiber than cooked millet per 100 grams.
Soluble fiber is helpful for many reasons 17. What makes fiber soluble is it dissolves in water.
Soluble fiber is known for the following:
- Help overall digestive health.
- Manage the blood glucose levels which helps decrease the risk of diabetes.
- Helps avoid constipation and have a more regular stool.
- Aids greatly in weight management because it allows you to feel full faster and eat less.
- Cooked quinoa provides 4.40 grams of protein per 100 grams.
- Cooked millet provides 3.51 grams of protein per 100 grams.
Cooked quinoa provides 25% more protein than cooked millet per 100 grams.
Both foods are a good source of protein. Protein may help benefit the following:
- Reduce appetite
- Build and repair muscle
- Boost metabolism
- Weight loss
As noted earlier in the nutrition section of the article, quinoa is a complete protein and contains all the essential amino acids.
Read Next – More Food vs Food Articles!
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- USDA: Quinoa, cooked
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- Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure
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- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Mechanisms linking dietary fiber, gut microbiota and colon cancer prevention
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- Bob’s Red Mill: Millet vs Quinoa
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