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April 16th, 2009 No Comments

Quinoa Wishes & Flaxseed Dreams — Nutritionista

Mary’s been subtly (or not-so-subtly!) hinting that I should write about quinoa (KEEN-wah) and flaxseed and why they’re so great.

First, I’ll give you the quinoa breakdown. Quinoa is a great whole grain option you can use to complete that 25% of your meal. Quinoa is definitely a king (queen?) among grains. It’s got a nice nutty flavor and has twice as much fiber and protein as brown rice for the same amount of calories! It also lots of vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, magnesium, and iron. To cook yourself a pot of quinoa, rinse it first, then combine one part quinoa to two parts water. Bring that to a boil, cover, and simmer for fifteen minutes. Then, use it wherever you use rice, couscous, or noodles! Here are some specific ideas:

  • Use it in a stir-fry instead of rice.
  • Eat it for breakfast instead of oatmeal. Add fresh fruit, nuts, milk, and spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • Eat it as a “salad.” Try Warm Quinoa Salad with Edamame & TarragonCranberry-Walnut Quinoa Salad, or Quinoa Salad with Dried Apricots and Baby Spinach.
  • Add it to your regular salad to give it some bulk/fiber.
  • Use it in soups instead of barley or noodles.
  • Incorporate it into ground meat, like chicken or turkey, before making burger patties.
  • Make “fried rice.” Sautee quinoa with your favorite veggies and an egg.
  • Make it into a pudding for dessert by adding milk, a little honey, shredded coconut, and berries.
  • Seek out frozen meals that include quinoa! I tried the Lemongrass Coconut Chicken frozen entree from Kashi (pictured). It was good and really filling (like the box says, it contains a whopping 18 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber!).

Moving on to flaxseed. This highly nutritious seed has a whopping 146% RDV of omega-3 fatty acids as well as plenty of other vitamins and minerals. Oh, and of course, some fiber (20% RDV). The thing you need to know about flaxseed is that you need to eat it ground or in oil form. Your body can’t digest it well otherwise. Here are a few ways to use flaxseed in your daily life:

  • Add ground flaxseed to hot or cold cereal.
  • Use ground flaxseed in homemade baked goods.
  • Add ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil to protein shakes, smoothies, or juices.
  • Sprinkle ground flaxseed on veggies to add a nutty flavor.
  • Use flaxseed oil in salad dressing.

Remember, eating the Nutritionista way is all about getting the most nutrition and taste out of everything you put in your mouth. Foods like quinoa and flaxseed are powerhouses because they pack a big nutritional punch, leave you feeling satisfied, and can add complexity and texture to a variety of dishes. Enjoy!