Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a type of grain that is in my opinion both delicious and extremely nutritious. Uncooked, they look like little seeds, normally yellow or brown, but after boiling, they become soft and fluffy. In addition to being an excellent source of carbs and energy, they have a surprising amount of protein and are even a complete protein! Meaning quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids.
For a few reasons, actually. First quinoa is not as processed as flour and thus retains more of its vitamin and minerals as well as fiber. Compared to rice, quinoa’s glycemic index is significantly lower (53 compared to 73 of white rice) which means that it does not produce as big of an insulin spike. (Which is good! We don’t want to unnecessarily tire out our pancreas.) The main reason for this is fiber!!
Recall that fiber is essentially a food’s “protective barrier” to being digested. But of course, our digestive system always overcomes it. Fiber itself is undigestable and slows down our body’s ability to digest the food it encases. This may sounds bad, but it’s actually extremely good, especially for individuals who are wary of caloric intake. The fiber helps us eat the same number of calories, but feel fuller for longer, reducing the cravings we often feel after eating pasta or other refined grains.
If you take away anything from this blog post, I hope it’s that quinoa = fiber!
I love quinoa as a rice/grain substitute! Maybe it’s the Asian side in me, but I’ll often have a bowl of quinoa with my dinner or lunch just instead of rice. Additionally, it’s really good in salads and or various types of bowls. It’s really quick and easy to cook a bunch of quinoa at once and refrigerate; it can probably last a good week or so!
Admittedly, quinoa can be more expensive than some easier foods, such as pasta or rice. But remember, nutrition is about a long run investment. Although you may be spending a bit more now, you’re treating your body better (which in itself is priceless!) and maybe even saving money on future medical bills. Plus, a small bag of quinoa actually makes quite a lot, I think you’d be surprised :)
Easy! Simply put about 1 cup of quinoa and 1 cup of water in a pot and bring to a boil. If you’re cooking less, I would put a little more water, about a 1:1.25 quinoa to water ratio. Once it starts to boil, turn down the heat and cover the pot, allowing the quinoa to simmer. Once most of the water is gone, I would check on it frequently and stir to prevent any quinoa from sticking to the bottom.
The quinoa is cooked if it looks almost “fluffy” and it shouldn’t be crunchy anymore.