The first time I heard about Quinoa, I actually read about it in a magazine and I pronounced it “Kuh-oh-na” like Ramona. When I later heard someone refer to “Keen-wa” I didn’t even know they were talking about the same thing! No matter how you say it, Quinoa is good stuff!
I think that the key to losing weight and keeping it off is to consume a higher ratio of protein to carbohydrates and fats. When my weight peaked several years ago and I could not take it off, I visited a dietician to glean insight into how to shed the weight. She advised me to consume 75-100 grams of protein every day and lessen my dependence on carbohydrates. I thought she was crazy at the time, but boy did it work. A couple of things happened:
- I concentrated on how to get more protein, instead of focusing on how to eat less
- Protein increased my satiety levels, therefore helping me eat less overall
What does this have to do with Quinoa? While Quinoa looks like a grain, it packs a nutritional punch as a protein, which is a great combo in my book. Quinoa only has 127 calories for ½ cup, but packs 4.5 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and 8 mg of iron. You can eat Quinoa like rice, breakfast cereal or even dessert, but have the amino acid content of a complete protein, similar to that of casein.
You may be asking, “OK, but what is Quinoa?” Quinoa is known as “the Mother grain” to the Incas and they used this plant as their main source of nutrition. Quinoa dates back over 5,000 years, grown mostly in the Andes Mountains of South America. You can easily substitute classic Quinoa for rice and Quinoa flakes for flour in any recipe. You can buy Quinoa at Trader Joes, Earth Fare or Whole Foods (if you are lucky enough to live near one.)
I had a box of Quinoa in my pantry for a couple of months, but I kept avoiding making it for dinner. I was nervous that I would go to the trouble to make it and no one would eat it. Well, last week we ran out of brown rice and had no other side item to go with dinner, so I dusted off the box of Quinoa and stuck it in rice cooker. Much to my surprise it was not only delicious, but my kids ate it without one complaint and they actually thought they were eating couscous (which they love.)
Today I wanted to kick it up a notch because I knew I’d be blogging about Quinoa, so I made Quinoa Blueberry-Banana Muffins. My seven-year old loved the muffins so much that he came to be with blueberry smeared across his cheeks and asked if he could have another one! And he is the picky one!
Try out this recipe or substitute Quinoa for rice in your favorite recipe and let me know what you think.
Stacy’s Quinoa Blueberry-Banana Muffins
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- ½ cup whole-wheat or quinoa flour
- ½ cup Quinoa flakes
- ¼ cup Silk Vanilla Almond Milk
- 1 small jar peach baby food
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- Pre-heat oven to 400
- Mix all dry ingredients in one small bowl and wet ingredients (except the blueberries) in another. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing well, but do not overbeat.
- Add the blueberries and gently fold into the mixture.
- Fill muffin tins ½ to ¾ full.
- Bake at 400 for 20 minutes
Have you tried Quinoa? Do you like it? Please share!