Have you jumped on the quinoa bandwagon yet?
I mean it’s hardly new. I remember when it first started to make its way into our consciousness and daily conversations almost 15 years ago it seems.
Still, many patients and clients I talk to are really eating it. It’s still a niche product for the so-called ‘health-conscious’ folks, but shouldn’t be. Quinoa is a healthy grain/pseudo-grain and is certainly a healthier choice than rice, white pasta, and potatoes.
Quinoa can be eaten as a cooked grain obviously but like rice, can be made into dessert; quinoa pudding but again, a much healthier dessert, or snack for that matter.
Quinoa is an edible seed. It’s naturally gluten-free and is relatively rich in protein compared to grains such as rice, oats, barley, etc. It’s one of a couple of plant foods that has sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids.
Keep in mind though, to get the same amount of protein (25 g) from quinoa as you would in 100 g (3.5 oz) or beef, chicken, pork, etc, you’d need to eat 3 cups of cooked quinoa. So while there’s more protein in quinoa compared to rice, 3 cups of quinoa can be filling.
It’s also high in fiber, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and various beneficial antioxidants (phytonutrients).
One-cup (250 ml) of cooked quinoa has:
- 222 calories
- 40 g carb
- 5 g fiber
- 35 g net carbs
- 3.6 g fat
- 8 g protein
- 78 mcg folate
- 2.8 mg iron
- 120 mg magnesium
- 280 mg phosphorus
- 318 mg potassium
When it comes to protein, eggs have always been considered the perfect source. Until whey protein was developed, eggs were the gold standard to which all other proteins were compared to in terms of their bioavailability.
You can learn more about protein quality, the efficiency of protein digestibility and how well protein can be used by your body in my sockeye salmon post.
Eggs are rich in nutrients such as protein, iron, selenium, folate, vitamin A and D3, B12, lutein, and my favourite B vitamin, choline. The eggs in this recipe round out the protein content along with milk and the quinoa making this pudding a nutritious dessert, breakfast or snack.
Milk remains a nutritious food fit for human consumption despite odd declarations to the contrary such as “it’s unnatural to consume the milk of another species”. Arguments like that are grounded in ideology and not evidence.
That being said, if you don’t want to drink milk, don’t, but if you’re going to use a milk alternative such as a plant-derived beverage, opt for soy. Use a soy beverage that’s made from 100% whole soybeans versus one made with water and isolated soy protein isolate.
Soy beverage is loaded with protein, just like milk is. Rice, almond, hemp, flax beverage, in essence, are flavoured water. So alternatives like pea beverages have added protein to them.
Naturally gluten-free, high in protein, magnesium, potassium, folate, fiber and more, quinoa is gaining in popularity as never before. Including quinoa in your diet is easy. It can be substituted in most recipes where other grains are used; a perfect example is swapping out nutritionless couscous for a more nutrient-dense quinoa tabouli instead.
- 2 cups cooked quinoa 1:3 ratio (basic recipe). 1 cup uncooked quinoa to 3 cups liquid
- ½ cups raisins
- 3 cups milk or milk alternative [hemp, soy, almond, or rice]
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- 1/3- cup honey or ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup almonds or walnuts ground
- 3 eggs beaten
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp salt
- ½ tsp lemon or orange rind grated
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Combine all ingredients. Pour into greased baking dish or greased individual custard cups.
- Bake in 350 F-degree oven until set, about 45 minutes.
- Serve hot or cold, topped with yogurt, cream or milk.
Source: Quinoa Corporation Website
Photo credit: Sara