Sunday, August 5, 2012

White Rice Alternatives: Quinoa

I don't know about you, but where I come from, if eating rice was a sport, we would beat the world. In a lot of Africa and Asia, many of our meals consist of white rice (parboiled, long grain, jasmine, basmati, or something of the sort), which contributes to our diet issues. If you are trying to eat a more nutritious diet however, there are other options you can consider as your main carbohydrate in a meal besides white rice.

Quinoa is just one of these alternatives. If you have never heard of or seen quinoa, it is a seed that looks like a grain, and when cooked, it has a couscous-y look to it. But it is nothing like couscous. It's flavor is pretty different and so is its nutritional value.

Nutrition of Quinoa vs. White Rice
The caloric content of quinoa vs. most kinds of rice is relatively similar though. A cup of quinoa contains about 220 calories and a cup of white long grain rice contains about 205. However, the benefits of quinoa are in the protein content and in the fact that is is an unprocessed seed. Unprocessed foods tend to keep away hunger longer. In addition, the 8 grams of protein per cup compared to the 4 grams of protein in a cup of white long grain rice doesn't hurt. Quinoa also contains about 5 grams of fiber per cup compared to 1 gram of fiber per cup of white long grain rice. Fiber is great for the digestive system.

Quinoa for a Healthy Vegetarian Diet
Besides using it as a substitute for white rice, quinoa is big in the vegetarian and vegan communities. Why quinoa instead of rice? Non-meat-eaters have doctors worried sometimes because they don't always meet their daily iron requirements (especially women), which most meat eaters easily meet. Quinoa helps to close some of that gap because it is very high in iron. So in addition to the added protein benefits, you get iron and other minerals and vitamins that help promote heart and digestive health.

Where Quinoa is Grown
Quinoa has been grown and eaten on the South American continent for a long time. However, you don't have to go to Peru to find it as it is sold in local grocery stores. Depending on your location, you may find that it is a little more pricey than rice.

How Quinoa is Cooked
Quinoa is cooked in the same way rice is. To give it some flavor, you can boil it in some meat stock or coconut juice. You can basically do everything you do with rice with quinoa. In addition to these, you can also use quinoa as an oats substitute for breakfast by mixing it up with fruits or nuts.

Need some quinoa recipes to start? Check some out here.

Cheers Eights & Weights!

Photo credit:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...