Lately I have been trying to eat less processed wheat and more whole grains and “healthy” carbohydrates. Even whole grain bread and pasta is not really that healthy because the grain is too processed and ultimately ends up being turned into sugar, which is then stored as fat. The healthy part of any grain is its hull, which aids in digestion and contains all the nutrients. Instead of gorging on plates of white rice, flour tortillas and sandwiches, I am trying to exercise moderation and eat unprocessed grains like brown rice, quinoa and oatmeal.
This has been very difficult for me. It seems like processed wheat is in EVERYTHING. I was going to buy some meatballs the other day, but when I looked at the ingredients, I saw that there were breadcrumbs inside. In the end I ended up making my own using oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs. Be on the lookout for this new meatball recipe! While it has been difficult these past three weeks staying away from breads and pastas, I am already feeling the benefits. Previously, I would take a midday nap because I just could not stay awake. Now I feel full of energy and can stay awake the whole day. It’s the small victories that count, right?
Now, you might be reading this and going, “but I like bread.” And I’m here to say, “that’s okay!” I’m just here to encourage you to change one small part in your eating habits or just try something new.
White rice is a staple in many people’s diets. Whether its Uncle Ben’s, microwavable rice, short grain or long grain, rice is a universal food. Unfortunately, white rice does not have a lot of nutritional value. What I am proposing is that you try replacing your white rice with quinoa. According to Livestrong, a 1/3 cup serving of dry quinoa contains 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. Pretty great I’d say! Quinoa also has a great mouth feel and can be paired with almost any meal.
Cooking quinoa is super simple. Dry quinoa will triple in size once it is cooked. (ex. 1/3 cup dry quinoa is equal to 1 cup cooked quinoa). For a 1 cup serving of cooked quinoa you’ll need to combine 1/3 cup dry quinoa with 2/3 cups water in a saucepan. Some people like to use chicken broth instead of water in order to add extra flavor. I am trying to lower my sodium intake, which is why I use water. Bring the quinoa and water to boil and let boil for a minute before turning the heat down to low. Allow the quinoa to simmer for 15 minutes, and then remove the pot from the heat. Your quinoa is ready to serve! Wasn’t that super easy?
While quinoa can be eaten plain, there is a whole bunch of ways to incorporate it into dishes. One of my favorite ways to use quinoa is to make tabouli, which is a Mediterranean salad made with parsley and mint. You can find my recipe here.
Ingredients for 1 cup of cooked quinoa:
- 1/3 c Dry Quinoa
- 2/3 c Water
- Put quinoa and water into a saucepan
- Bring to a boil
- Let boil for one minute before turning the heat down to low
- Simmer for 15 minutes
- Remove from heat and serve