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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Superfood of the Week: Health Benefits of Quinoa

Looking for plant based protein? There are many non-meat foods out there that provide great sources of protein to fuel the body and give us needed strength. There is one food in particular that is a staple in my diet due to its nutritional benefits, great taste and protein stores: quinoa. This grain is a complete protein (it has all of the essential amino acids) which is why we are naming it the Superfood of the Week!

Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) is a seed-like whole grain that cooks just like rice. It was first eaten by Incan warriors as their fuel for battle because it gave them such good energy and power. Quinoa is not only high in protein but is also:

  • high in fiber
  • high in nutrients such as folate, thiamin, riboflavin and iron
  • a good source of essential fatty acids
  • gluten-free
  • easy to digest

I not only love quinoa because of the benefits it provides, but because of its delicious taste as well. Quinoa is a light and fluffy grain with a unique and distinct flavor that is nutty and smoky. It comes in many varieties including white, red and, black and each type combines well with an array of your favorite foods. Quinoa is a very versatile grain that can be used in all different types of recipes and be served either as a main or side dish that everyone will enjoy.

Now that you know the basics about quinoa it’s time to cook! Before cooking, quinoa has to be rinsed, as it has a natural coating that protects it from insects and birds. Quinoa only takes 15 minutes to cook so it can be used in fast and quick meals. Try quinoa porridge in the morning mixed with berries and nuts, or have it mixed with vegetables and beans for a satisfying lunch or dinner. Quinoa is also served sold as quinoa flour, pasta, or breakfast flakes so mix and match your favorite foods to find what works for you.

Try this delicious and easy Quinoa and Black Bean Salad recipe from Epicurious for a balanced and delicious meal for the whole family.

Make quinoa part of your everyday life by using it in your favorite recipes for a great source of protein, fiber, and nutrients that are important for a healthy body and healthy life.

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Tags: Protein , Superfood of the Week , Vegetarian , Whole Grains

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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.