Eat To Win
This nutrition tip is courtesy of Sydney Jacobson, registered dietitian at Hy-Vee in Windsor Heights, IA.
A Super Grain to Help You Train!
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a recently rediscovered ancient "grain," native to Central America. This tiny seed can be found in a variety of colors, although white is the most commonly consumed.
A Nutrition Powerhouse
This tiny seed is a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition. It is high in protein, around 12–18%, an unusual occurrence among plant foods. In fact, the protein in quinoa is considered to be a “complete protein,” as it contains all eight essential amino acids which are needed for building and maintaining muscle in humans. The quinoa seed is also high in calcium and iron, nutrients essential to a woman’s health. Naturally gluten-free, quinoa also makes a nutritious and flavorful alternative grain for those with gluten sensitivity. Providing 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving, quinoa would be a worthy addition to anyone’s diet.
Simple to Use - Tips for Preparing Quinoa
The first step is to remove the saponins, a natural bitter coating, by soaking the ancient grain in water. While most boxed quinoa has been pre-rinsed for convenience, it is still a good idea to wash the seeds and remove any remaining saponin residue. Simply run cold water over quinoa and gently rub the seeds together. To ensure that the saponins have been completely removed, taste a few seeds. If they still have a bitter taste, continue the rinsing process.
A common cooking method is to treat quinoa much like rice. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add 1 cup quinoa. Bring the mixture back to a boil, covering the pan with a lid, and continue to cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff, cover again and let stand for 15 minutes. This should yield around 4 servings.
A Few Quick Serving Ideas
Quinoa will produce a fluffy, creamy and slightly crunchy consistency with a mild and somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. Try incorporating quinoa into your next meal using one of these quick serving ideas.
- Substitute quinoa for rice in any entree, soup or salad recipe
- Create a side dish with a kick of flavor by substituting water with chicken or vegetable stock when cooking quinoa
- Mix quinoa with honey, almonds or berries for a high-protein hot breakfast cereal
- For a twist on your favorite pasta recipe, use noodles made from quinoa
- Ground quinoa flour can be added to cookie or muffin recipes
Quinoa may be found in the HealthMarket department at your local Hy-Vee store. For additional ideas on cooking with this ancient grain, contact a Hy-Vee registered dietitian or visit www.hy-vee.com.
Sydney Jacobson earned a dietetics degree from Iowa State University and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is also a marathoner with an interest in sport nutrition. Contact her at email@example.com
This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
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