Nutrition & Weight Loss

Quinoa

Quinoa

My new favorite “old” food! I’ve eaten quinoa on and off over the past few years, mostly off. But lately I’ve started experimenting and have turned quinoa into my go to food of choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Quinoa [KEEN-wah] is a gluten-free source of complete protein, dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. The nutritional value of quinoa is well documented and easily found in a quick internet search. My goal isn’t to educate you on the benefits of quinoa but to share my favorite ways to prepare it for quick and easy meals.




To Start

At my local fresh foods market I recently purchased 3.7 lbs. quinoa in bulk for $3.49/lb. Breaking it down further this 3.7 lbs = 10 dry cups. When cooked 1 dry cup = approx. 3 1/2 cups cooked quinoa.

 
Calories
Protien
Carbs
Fat
Fiber
1 Cup Uncooked    
626
24g
109g
10g
12g
1 Cup Cooked    
178
6.8g
31.2g
2.8g
3.4g



Preparation

Quinoa takes approximately 30 minutes to cook, since my attention span is closer to 2 minutes I find it easiest to prepare in larger batches, use what I need and refrigerate the rest to be used over the next several days. To reheat add 1 tsp water to 1 cup cooked quinoa and microwave on high for 1 min 30 sec.

To cook quinoa simply put 1 part quinoa with 2 parts cold (tap temperature) water in sauce pan, bring to a rapid boil, reduce heat to low, cover, leave on stove for 20-25 minutes until quinoa has absorbed all the water.

Quinoa for Breakfast

quinoa for breakfastI have to confess right now I’m a “kitchen sink” cook…I’ll throw anything in my food except the kitchen sink. I’m pretty certain this habit stems from growing up in rural Iowa and eating casseroles several nights a week. I like to take a bite of food and experience different sensations of sweetness, wholesomeness, chewiness, crunchiness and any other kind of “ness” I can find in every mouthful. Not only do I get this from adding my favorite ingredients but I love the “pop” when chewing quinoa. It’s like a trail runners healthy version of Pop Rocks Candy.

Some of my favorite “extras” added to 1 cup cooked quinoa for breakfast:

 
Amount
Calories
Protien
Carbs
Fat
Fiber
Cooked Quinoa     
1 CUP
178
6.8g
31.2g
2.8g
3.4g
Raw Almonds    
1/2 OZ (10 pieces)
80
3.6g
3.6
7g
1.5g
Dried Red Cherries    
1/6 CUP
70
.5g
17g
0
1g
Peanut Butter    
1 TBSP
80
3.5g
3.5g
8g
1g
Fresh Blueberries    
1/2 CUP
41
.5g
10g
0
1.8
Banana (sliced)    
1/2 medium
52
.6g
13g
0
1.6g
100% Maple Syrup    
1 TBSP
52
0
13
0
0
~or~  Pure Honey    
1 TBSP
60
0
15
0
0
Vanilla Almond Milk    
1/2 CUP
40
0.5g
7g
1.2g
0




Quinoa for Lunch or Dinner

quinoa saladWhen I first had quinoa and several times later it was always as an evening side dish similar to a potato, yam, vegetable or used as a final resting place for a piece of fresh grilled fish. It was never very exciting and tolerated, never enjoyed, only because of it’s health benefits. My attitude completely changed when attempting to make quinoa the main focal point of my meal. I now fix quinoa as a light lunch dish or make it more hearty at night by serving warm on a bed of greens with sliced grilled chicken or fresh grilled fish.

Here’s the basis of my quinoa salad. Again this is just a sampling of what I like. Quinoa is a great accompaniment to just about any of your favorite ingredients and flavors.

*Note: mix ingredients in a large bowl, contents below make approximately 6 – 1 cup servings. (add nutritional values below, then divide by 6 to get the single serving amounts for calories, protein, carbs, etc)

 
Amount
Calories
Protien
Carbs
Fat
Fiber
Cooked Quinoa     
3 1/2 CUP
626
24g
109g
10g
12g
Grape Tomatoes    
3 OZ (21 tomatoes)
30
1g
6g
0
1g
Onion    
1/2 CUP (chopped)
32
.9g
7.5g
.1g
1.3g
Black Olives    
2 OZ (sliced)
92
0g
4g
9.2g
0
Green Bell Pepper    
1/2 large (chopped)
16
.7g
3.1g
.1g
0
Cucumber    
1/2 medium
52
.6g
13g
0
1.6g
Feta Cheese    
1/3 CUP (crumbles)
120
9g
3g
9g
0
Grilled Skinless    
Chicken Breast    
4 OZ (sliced thin)
120
24g
9g
1.5g
0
Greek Vinaigrette    
Salad Dressing    
1/3 CUP
125
0
5g
12.5g
0



Conclusion

Quinoa is very easy to prepare, nutritious and takes on the flavor of almost anything you add to it. Pick some up at your local Whole Foods Market or fresh food co-op in bulk and experiment with it, use it as a substitute or additive to your favorite recipes (I put a cup in my chicken noodle soup). You really can’t mess up with any thing you do with quinoa.

Do you have a favorite way to prepare quinoa? Share it with us, I’m always looking for new ways to make my favorite foods taste better and different.



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This post was written by:

- who has written 22 posts on Trail Running Club.


John is a former VP of Operations for Go Daddy Group, Inc. The largest domain name seller and hosting provider in the world. John currently consults with clients on their internet marketing strategies and manages client website projects from conception to completion.

Born and raised in a small eastern Iowa town John received his BBA from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa before escaping the cold winters for Arizona over 17 years ago.

John has completed several trail races and runs including:
• Black Canyon Trail 100K Endurance Run
• Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Mile Endurance Run
• Adrenaline 65K Night Run
• Rim to Rim to Rim - Grand Canyon 48 mile
• Javelina Jundred 100K
• Zane Grey 50 Mile Endurance Run
• Javelina Jundred 100 mile
• Man Against Horse 50 mile
• Flagstaff Trail Marathon
• Mesquite Canyon 50K
• Old Pueblo 50 Mile Endurance Run
• Just Another Mad Dog 50K



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2 Responses

  1. Trail Running Club says:

    There is a lot written on the internet about protein absorption and some of it is conflicting so I won’t get into what’s too much protein and what’s not. I will say to add up the grams again, no where in the article do the ideas come close to 21g per serving.

  2. nelson says:

    John,

    the body can only absorb about 21g of protein in any one meal, the rest is turned into fat. Your dish above is poorly balanced in that regard.

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