We all know about the benefits of whole grains, but what if you are gluten-intolerant, sick of eating rice and whole wheat bread, or simply cannot digest whole grains well? Try adding quinoa to your diet! Never heard of it? Well, let me introduce you. :)
Pronounced "keen-WAH", this grain-like seed has been consumed for thousands of years and was actually considered sacred by the Incas in South America. And for good reason. Quinoa is believed to be one of the "most complete foods" in nature because it has the highest form of non-meat protein, is loaded with fiber, and contains high levels of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. A 4oz. serving contains over 22 whopping grams of protein and about 5.2 grams of fiber per cup. And while plant-based foods typically deliver only some essential amino acids, quinoa actually contains all the essential amino acids that your body needs.
Great in a number of ways, quinoa can easily be incorporated into your breakfast, lunch or dinner:
- Instead of cereal or oatmeal which doesn't contain as much protein, try some cooked quinoa with bananas, berries, almonds and milk/almond milk.
- Substitute quinoa for the bulgur in your tabbouleh salad
- Combine with your favorite salad
- Mix with some vegetarian, beef or chicken chili
- Add to soups
- Mix with basil pesto, spinach and chicken
- Use it in place of ground beef for tacos or burritos
- Bake bread, muffins or cake with quinoa flour