Hello and welcome to my Effortless Additions series. Today I’m featuring one of my oldest son’s favourite foods – quinoa! It is on the top of my list of foods that I always keep stocked in my pantry. It has been a life saver for last minute meal ideas and there are endless ways to enjoy it. It can be purchased in bulk or by the bag and one cup of dry can easily provide a meal for my family of four.
Lately it seems that people are trying to introduce more plant based meals into their diets. It can get confusing with so many options that are not considered complete proteins. Do you need to add food items to compliment your plant based protein or alternate protein sources in order to not get deficient in a few amino acids? Does it matter? Here’s where quinoa steps in and shines. Quinoa is a complete source of protein, so there is no guesswork. Most kids will eat bowl after bowl of noodles happily, so why not swap out those noodles for quinoa with some veggies and dip on the side and you turn a nutritionally lacking meal into a nutrient packed complete meal. It’s a win, win for both parents and kids.
My personal preference is to soak quinoa overnight prior to cooking it (but I don’t sweat it if I forgot). For more information on soaking quinoa, please see this article.
Here are some great quick and effortless ways to incorporate quinoa into your family’s diet:
- Add it to your salad as your protein. It goes great with a sweeter green salad with fruit and nuts or a more savoury salad with lots of vegetables.
- Enjoy it on it’s own and use it as the base of your salad rather than lettuce and add veggies, nuts, fruit, etc. to it.
- Quinoa makes a great breakfast dish in place of oatmeal.
- Quinoa makes an excellent addition to baked goods. You can grind up dry quinoa to make flour (or buy it already ground) or use cooked quinoa. One of our favourite recipes for quinoa cookies can be found in a recent Effortless Additions post I did about cinnamon.
- Use it in savoury dishes such as soups or chilli. Check out my post on quinoa recipes for a delicious chilli recipe we enjoy in my home.
- Replace rice, bulgur, noodles, etc. in soups. I love this since I always have quinoa on hand so I don’t need to go out and buy additional ingredients.
The nutritional benefits of consuming quinoa are many and include:
Protein, fibre, vitamin B6, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, vitamin B3, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B2, vitamin B1 and zinc.
Quinoa also contains antioxidant flavonoids including quercetin and kaempferol. Quercetin has many benefits, including a natural anti-histamine by inhibiting the activity of mast cells, which release histamine and cause nasal and itchy reactions. Studies on Kaempferol show beneficial affects of reducing chronic diseases, especially cancer. Kaempferol inhibits cancer cell growth and also appears to preserve normal cell viability.
I hope some of these ideas make it to your table and your family enjoys these Effortless Additions as much as mine does.
p.s. If you are looking for tips or suggestions regarding introducing new foods or meals to your family, please check out my Family Consultation package that I offer. I would love to help your family on their journey!