Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Quinoa for a Varied Diet

Eat a variety of foods. So often I hear people say they can't eat this, or they can't eat that. Sure, I'm guilty of the same, I don't drink soda and I eat as little packaged food as possible. And of course, I don't eat fast food. My choices to not eat or to avoid certain things is an active life long choice, not a temporary "can't" as if I were depriving myself of certain things for the short term to drop a few pounds. My goal is to be healthy, not to lose weight. Day in and day out, I don't think about what I choose not to eat, I put much more effort and thought into what I DO eat. I try to eat leafy greens daily to get my vitamin K. A few pieces of whole fruit. Some lean protein and some whole grains. And that brings me to Quinoa. Pronounced "Keen wa", it is a whole grain that I always keep in the cupboard. It has a mild taste and is scrumptous as part of a salad, or in a pilaf. It's a side dish that is high in protein-1/4 cup has 5 grams of protein.

I love potatoes and nothing goes with Thai food like jasmine rice, but most of all, I like variety. Adding quinoa or if you're really adventurous, bulgar wheat to your menu adds variety while adding some whole grains to your diet. The best part of adding good things to your diet instead of taking away things you perceive as bad is it's a positive approach to food that makes life and eating that more pleasurable.

To make a basic quinoa side dish, use 2 part chicken broth to 1 part quinoa. You can flavor with onion, garlic, shallots if you like. If your looking for a substitue to a pasta or potato salad that tastes even better after sitting in the fridge and is an easy and quick high protein snack, try this Quinoa and Black Bean Salad! I recommend experimenting-quinoa is a versatile and tasty grain. Just make sure you rinse it before you cook it! It may be bitter if you don't.

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