Tasty and Healthy Ways to Add Quinoa to Your Meals


Quinoa is a whole grain that is gaining popularity due to its increasing use in the heart-healthy diet. Loaded with fiber, vitamins, and protein, quinoa is a good food to have in your pantry if you are trying to keep your lipid levels healthy. Quinoa is flavorful enough to be consumed by itself - or it can be easily incorporated into a meal. Despite its healthy status and versatility, there are some pitfalls to avoid when you are using quinoa in your healthy diet.

These tips will show you how to include quinoa in any of your meals.

Quinoa for Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not include quinoa as one of your first foods before you start your day. The high fiber and protein content found in quinoa can leave you full until lunch time - helping you to resist the urge to raid the snack machine mid-morning. There are many ways you can incorporate quinoa in your breakfast foods. You cook quinoa and consume it alone - or with a sprinkling of cinnamon or handful of fruit. You can also incorporate quinoa into muffins, breads, and breakfast bars with other healthy foods for a filling treat. When preparing these foods, you should limit the use of heavy creams and butter since they can add saturated fat to your breakfast. 

Add Quinoa to Soups and Salads

Quinoa can also be used in soups and salads included in your cholesterol-lowering diet.

Because of quinoa’s high fiber and protein content, salads and soups containing quinoa can also serve as the main course of the meal. The next time that you make a savory vegetable soup, toss in some quinoa to cook along with the other ingredients. Quinoa can be added to practically any salad to yield a delicious, filling meal.

When preparing quinoa for this course, you should limit the use of cheeses or red meat - since these can add calories and fat to your meal. If your recipe calls for red meat, you can use beans, soy, fish, or poultry instead to reduce your fat intake. You can also substitute low-fat varieties of cheese to obtain the same flavor - without the added fat.

Quinoa as a Side Item

Quinoa can be consumed alone or with other healthy ingredients, such as legumes, vegetables, and spices. When using quinoa, you may need to use a small amount as a side, since consuming too much may cause you to be too full to eat your entree. 

Quinoa-Inspired Entrees

Quinoa can also be widely used in many types of main courses. You can substitute quinoa for beans, chickpeas, lentils, or other whole grains - or add it to a standalone dish. However, it can be very easy to sabotage quinoa’s cholesterol-friendly status by adding certain ingredients. Here are some ways to avoid doing this:

  • Use low-fat dairy products. Some entrees may call for the addition of cheese, milk, or cream in the dish. To cut down on fat, you can use a low-fat version of your favorite product. If this isn't an option, you can always limit the amount of these products added to cut calories.
  • Cut out gravy. Gravies can also be a source of fat to your dish. You can forgo it completely, or ask for the gravy on the side to limit the amount of gravy consumed.
  • Use lean meats. Although your quinoa-inspired meals can be completely meatless, you can also combine quinoa with other types of meat. If you’re including meat in your meal, make sure that you use lean cuts. If you want to use red meat in your meal, you should remove any visible pieces of fat from the meat before consuming them.
  • Check your labels. For any ingredients or sauces you wish to add to your entree, always check the nutrition labels on the packaging. You should select ingredients that are high in fiber and protein - and low in calories. These foods should also be low in carbohydrate and saturated fat content.