Quinoa Nutritional Facts for a Diabetes-Friendly Diet

Bowl of quinoa with wooden shovel on wood
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Check out these quinoa nutritional facts to see why I name it as one of the healthiest foods.

Nutrifacts for 1 Cup of Cooked quinoa

  • 155 calories
  • 30 g carbohydrate
  • 3 g fat
  • 3 g dietary fiber
  • 5.5 g protein

While cooked pasta has around the same amount of carbohydrate and protein, quinoa has double the fiber of pasta.

The protein profile of quinoa is notable because it is a "complete" protein, which means it contains all of the nine essential amino acids.

Most other complete protein foods are meat- or dairy-based, not grains. Since quinoa is a whole grain seed, it is also naturally a good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E and potassium.

Fiber Makes Quinoa Diabetes-Friendly

Quinoa is an excellent option for diabetes meal plans. I often recommend using it in place of white rice or pasta.

The extra fiber in quinoa allows the digestion of carbohydrates to be slowed, assisting with blood-sugar control. The risk of type 2 diabetes has also been found to be 31% lower when whole grains are eaten frequently.

Part of this benefit is likely due to the magnesium content of grain seeds in addition to the fiber content. Magnesium is a part of many metabolic processes in the body, including some that help to regulate blood sugar.

Where to Find Quinoa

You can find quinoa now in regular grocery stores. Look for it on a shelf located above the white rice near the couscous and specialty rices.

How to Cook Quinoa

The cooking method for quinoa is similar to that of rice -- the only difference is that it is generally recommended to soak and/or rinse quinoa prior to use in order to remove naturally occurring saponins, which are soapy-tasting substances thought to act as a deterrent to birds in nature.

Place 1 cup of the raw dried quinoa seed into a fine strainer, and a run it under warm tap water while swishing it around with your hand. The combination of running warm water, abrasion from the strainer, and swirling action seem to be enough to remove the soapy residue.

After soaking and rinsing your dried quinoa, cook it according to the package directions -- generally by placing it in a saucepan with 1 1/2 cups of water to every 1 cup of quinoa. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the grain has absorbed all of the water, about 20 minutes or longer.

Get Creative with Quinoa

You can try using quinoa in creative ways too -- like in place of breading on chicken or fish as in this recipe for Quinoa and Herb-Crusted Fish Fillets Recipe.


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