Quinoa is one of the most healthy food items you can add to your diet, especially when trying to lose weight. Quinoa is unlike any other grain. It is not a true grain but comes from a plant called chenopodium, which is close in species to plants such as spinach and beets, making it a healthier choice than typical cereal grains. As a food item it has been around a long time, originating in the South American Andes region, but has only recently gained widespread popularity as a health food. Substituting quinoa for other grains in your diet is easy and a great way to help you lose weight.
Quinoa Nutritional Content
Quinoa boasts a very high protein content and all the essential amino acids needed for cell development. It is one of the few plant-derived foods that is a complete protein, which makes it an excellent nutritional staple for vegetarians and a great grain substitute for dieters. In addition to providing an alternative source of protein, with almost twice as much as other grains, quinoa also supplies many of the vitamins and minerals dieters need to stay healthy while trying to lose weight.
Quinoa is a good source of healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats. It is high in dietary fiber, calcium, iron and many other minerals. It is also a good source of vitamins such as E and B. The seeds are gluten free and thus easily digestible.
Packed with slow releasing carbohydrates, quinoa helps maintain blood sugar for consistent energy levels. When incorporated into your diet plan, quinoa will keep you feeling fuller between meals so you’ll be less likely to overindulge at the next meal or give in to cravings.
Fits into Your Lifestyle
Since quinoa boasts so many nutritional factors, it is a great staple to incorporate into any diet. Adding healthy, natural or organic ingredients to your diet can often be more expensive and time consuming than sticking with prepared packaged foods, with one exception. Quinoa is fairly inexpensive when compared to other choices and often cooks within minutes, leaving you with more time to focus on other activities such as exercise.
Easy to Cook
Quinoa is easy to incorporate into a healthy, natural diet. It can be eaten raw, cooked or sprouted and mixes well with many other healthy foods. Quinoa is very versatile and cooks quickly. The quinoa seed is close in size to rice and absorbs liquids similarly, making it easy to substitute into many rice dishes. When the seed is cooked it can appear fluffy or creamy depending on how much liquid you use, and it is satisfyingly crunchy.
Quinoa can be added to hot or cold dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack. It works well in soups and stews in place of barley, rice or pasta. It can be roasted or toasted to add an intriguing flavor in casseroles and other side dishes. Mix quinoa into cold salads or cooked vegetable dishes. For breakfast, you can cook quinoa in a fruit juice and eat it like hot oatmeal or dry cereal, or use ground quinoa flour to make pancakes or waffles. You may also want to try to incorporate quinoa flour into your baking or pasta recipes.