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It's Time to Add Quinoa to Your Diet

Quinoa

It seems as if every other week someone is touting a new “superfood” that we all need to start eating to get/stay healthy, lose weight, etc. But one bona fide superfood that we should all be adding to our diets is quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”). Not only is this little grain-like nugget delicious, it’s also good for you, easy to prepare, and perfect for those who need gluten-free alternatives to traditional grains and flours.

Quinoa is Not a Grain

Although in appearance quinoa may look like a grain, it is actually a relative of vegetables like Swiss chard and spinach. It is a healthy carbohydrate that is low in fat and high in fiber and complete proteins. Quinoa is also full of magnesium, antioxidants, and riboflavin. The complete protein is very important for those who do not consume animal products as it provides everything our system needs to build and repair tissues in the body.

How to Use Quinoa

Now you’re wondering whether it tastes good? The answer is yes! It’s a bit more flavorful than brown rice, manages to be soft yet crunchy at the same time, and has a definite nutty note to it. The rest depends on preparation; you can boil it with water and coconut milk for a yummy breakfast, or use broth for a hearty side dish. It can also be ground into flour and substituted for wheat flour. Honestly, you can use quinoa in just about anything! Those of us who love brown rice but hate how long it takes to cook should really be jumping for joy – cooking quinoa on the stovetop takes a mere 15 minutes. Now that’s fast. Popular uses for quinoa include as a replacement for oatmeal or cereal, a rice-like side dish, hot or cold salads, or even Tabbouleh. Quinoa flour can be used to make cakes, breads, muffins, cookies, bars, and pastries – anywhere you would normally use other types of flour (note that you can’t directly substitute quinoa flour for wheat flour, some other ingredients are needed to balance out the changes in starch levels). So where do you find this wonderful grain-like substance? Health food stores most definitely carry quinoa, but so do many standard grocery stores, alongside rice and other grains. One of the best things about quinoa, besides the fact that it’s so good for you, is that it is readily available and easy to add into your diet. What's your favorite way to prepare quinoa? Share your recipe in the comments! Photo credit: SweetOnVeg