Quinoa health benefits: 10 ways to make recipes healthier and lose weight

Find out how quinoa can increase your fibre and help you detox by adding it to baked goods, baby food, savoury dishes and more

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Quinoa Revolution

Ryan Szulc

We recently chatted with Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming, authors of the wildly successful book Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood, as they’re back with even more quinoa recipes (all under 500 calories) in their latest book, Quinoa Revolution. The busy authors and moms shared with us a few great ideas as to how we can use healthy, protein-rich quinoa to shed pounds and improve health (even when added to cupcakes!):

1. Boost your metabolism
“Eliminating foods that prevent you from losing weight (refined grains, sugars, processed foods) and adding quinoa instead, can help to kickstart your metabolism,” says Green. Every step you take away from white foods like rice, sugar and flour, the closer you’re getting to optimal digestion.

2. Get rid of toxins
Hemming suggests using products high in, “non-animal protein, vitamins and minerals (especially iron)” when it comes to detoxing because they “provide a great source of new energy.” Cleansing the body is hard on your organs so ensuring they’re supported makes the process less difficult.

3. Boost your fibre intake
“Quinoa’s high dietary fibre is great for ensuring regular digestion and high soluble fibre provides prebiotic nutrients that give us good flora in our intestines. That means nutrients are better absorbed and you get a boost for your immune system,” they explain. Fibre will not only keep you feeling fuller longer, but it also ensures you’re efficiently ridding your body of toxins and unwanted waste.

4. Make your baking healthier
Blend cooked quinoa seeds into a batter and bake something like a cake or cupcakes says Green.

Chocolate cream mini cupcakes with avocado icing & quinoa

Chocolate cream mini cupcakes with avocado icing, Quinoa Revolution

5. Replace rice in Mexican food
Hemming is a huge lover of south-western foods and Tex-Mex, so she suggests making “quinoa burritos and kung pao quinoa!”

6. Use quinoa as a thickening agent
Cook quinoa seeds and blend them smooth to create decadent puddings and pureed soups that are rich and thick.
 
7. Introduce it to your baby
“You can puree cooked quinoa into a beautiful baby food and add milk, fruit or vegetables and you have a naturally nutritious (not enriched, but all natural!) and vitamin-packed, perfect baby food,” the women explain, “Quinoa contains histidine, the amino acid that is important for human growth and development, making quinoa a naturally ideal choice for baby food.”

8. Sprout it!
“You can sprout quinoa for a super powerful enzyme and vitamin-rich living food you can use it in salads, sandwiches and smoothies!”

9. Add it to everything!
People new to this wonder-ingredient can start by adding quinoa seeds “to soup, stew or added to casseroles, salads, hot breakfast cereals and puddings. For instance, you could start by adding quinoa to chicken noodle soup instead of noodles or adding it to your chilli,” they advise. The first few times you cook it you may find the taste is a bit nuttier than expected but you’ll learn as you go that it’s similar in tofu that it takes on the taste of what it’s cooked in.

10. The future of quinoa
We’re always looking for the next superfood ingredient and in Quinoa Revolution Hemming and Green mention baby quinoa (or kaniwa) as a “terrific” variation of the traditional. “It is higher in protein and it doesn’t have the saponin coating that leaves a slight bitter taste that some people are sensitive to,” says Green.

Get four of our favourite recipes from Quinoa Revolution below:
Chocolate hazelnut bars
Cranberry coconut bars
Kale, red pepper and quinoa toss
Chocolate cream mini cupcakes with avocado icing

Quinoa Revolution Cover

Quinoa Revolution: Over 150 Healthy, Great-Tasting Recipes Under 500 Calories by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming, $32, Amazon.ca

What’s your favourite thing to cook using quinoa?