Is Barley Keto Friendly?

When it comes to following a ketogenic diet, understanding the carbohydrate content of various foods is essential. Barley is a versatile grain that has been a staple in many cuisines for centuries. But is barley keto-friendly? In this article, we’ll delve into the carbohydrate content and nutritional profile of barley to help you make informed choices while following a ketogenic diet. We’ll also share some creative and keto-friendly recipes that incorporate barley.

Barley’s Carbohydrate Content

One of the fundamental principles of the ketogenic diet is to limit your daily carbohydrate intake to induce a state of ketosis. In this state, your body relies on fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Therefore, it’s crucial to know the carbohydrate content of any food you consume.

Barley is relatively high in carbohydrates compared to many other keto-friendly grains. A 100-gram serving of cooked barley contains around 22 grams of carbohydrates. While this may not seem excessively high, it’s considerably more than other low-carb options like cauliflower rice, which contains only about 5 grams of carbs per 100 grams.

Barley’s Nutritional Profile

While barley is not a traditional keto-friendly choice due to its carbohydrate content, it does offer some nutritional benefits that may be of interest to those following a balanced, low-carb diet. Here’s a brief overview of barley’s nutritional profile:

Fiber: Barley is a good source of dietary fiber, providing around 3.5 grams of fiber per 100-gram serving. Fiber is essential for digestive health and can help with satiety and blood sugar control.

Protein: Barley contains about 2.3 grams of protein per 100 grams. While not as protein-rich as some other grains, it can still contribute to your daily protein intake.

Vitamins and Minerals: Barley is a decent source of essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Antioxidants: Barley contains various antioxidants, such as beta-glucans, which may help protect your cells from oxidative stress and support overall health.

Keto-Friendly Barley Recipes

If you’re determined to include barley in your keto diet, there are ways to do so while keeping your carb intake in check. Here are some creative and keto-friendly recipes featuring barley:

Cauliflower and Barley Risotto: Swap out traditional rice for cauliflower rice and add cooked barley sparingly for a unique and flavorful twist on risotto. Combine with keto-approved veggies, cheese, and your choice of protein for a delicious meal.

Barley and Spinach Salad: Create a hearty salad with barley, fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta cheese. Toss it all together with a keto-friendly vinaigrette for a satisfying lunch option.

Barley and Mushroom Soup: Prepare a rich and comforting soup by simmering barley with mushrooms, low-carb vegetables, and bone broth. This soup is not only keto-friendly but also incredibly nourishing.

Barley and Avocado Bowl: Make a keto-friendly grain bowl by combining cooked barley with sliced avocado, grilled chicken or tofu, and a drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle with some nuts or seeds for added crunch.


While barley may not be the first choice for strict keto enthusiasts due to its carbohydrate content, it can be incorporated into a ketogenic diet in moderation. Be mindful of portion sizes and consider your daily carb allowance. As with any dietary plan, it’s essential to prioritize nutrient-dense, whole foods and adjust your meals to meet your specific dietary goals and preferences. Experiment with these keto-friendly barley recipes to enjoy the unique flavors and health benefits of this ancient grain while staying within your carbohydrate limits.


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