Quinoa: The Complete Protein Whole Grain
January 30, 2012 | In: General Nutrition
Article by: Pam Higgins, Certified Health Coach
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a whole grain from South America. The ancient Incas ate quinoa as their main staple and called it, “the mother grain”. Quinoa often makes it on Superfoods lists, read on to learn why.
Quinoa is a complete protein, like chicken or beef, this means it contains all essential amino acids. Most grains are incomplete that is why you often see beans combined with rice, because together they become a complete protein. Quinoa is not only a complete protein, it’s also a good source of important nutrients such as Iron, Phosphorus, Magnesium, and Manganese. A 1 cup serving contains 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. Eating quinoa in the morning to replace your typical breakfast grain will help you power through with more energy and staying power.
Cooking quinoa takes the same amount of time as cooking white rice, 20 minutes. Quinoa are tiny little white beads, other varieties include red and black with slightly different flavors. Quinoa has a natural bitter coating on it called, saponins; a natural defense against pests. Rinse quinoa well using a fine mesh strainer before cooking. Some packaged varieties are pre-rinsed to remove saponins. Cook according to package directions, the quinoa will expand to about 4 times its original size. You will get a light, fluffy, and satisfying grain perfect for breakfast, a vegetarian main dish, or side.
Adding quinoa to your diet is also a great idea if you are avoiding gluten due to intolerance or if you have celiac disease. Quinoa can be substituted for many gluten containing grains. Swap out gluten rich pasta and replace with quinoa or swap out bulgur and replace with quinoa to make a gluten free version of the traditional Mediterranean dish tabouli. Try this recipe here.
Pam Higgins is The Busy Women’s Anti-Diet Coach!
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