Q: I’ve been seeing something called “quinoa” recommended as a healthy side dish. What is it and what would I do with it?

A: Quinoa – pronounced “KEEN-wah” – is considered and used like a whole grain, although technically it’s a seed, not a true whole grain such as brown rice, bulgur (whole wheat) and oatmeal. Unlike most grains, it’s a good source of protein, so it’s a perfect choice as you experiment with smaller meat portions and meatless meals. In just 15 minutes it can be cooked like rice to serve as a fluffy side dish or incorporated in soups and stews instead of pasta or potatoes. Each grain is naturally coated with a bitter substance to protect it as it grows, so put it in a sieve and rinse it before cooking. In most larger grocery stores, you can find quinoa in the same section with rice. Alternatively, you might check the “natural” foods aisle, where it may be grouped with other packaged grains or in a bulk food section.

The Author:

Karen Collins, MS, RDN, CDN , American Institute for Cancer Research

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed over $100 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, http://www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.


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