Are you looking for an alternative to brown rice, barley, and buckwheat? If so then one of the best options is learning how many grams of protein in quinoa.
Fun Fact: Quinoa is a “complete protein” since it includes all 9 essential amino acids (EAAs). This is a high-fiber food that’s high in good carbs and many vitamins and minerals.
Since it’s a complete protein you also get all 9 essential amino acids (EAAs), which people have to get from food and supplements. As a result, you can get all the daily amino you need and the right amount. This differs from foods like rice that are incomplete proteins. Quinoa has been consumed for thousands of years but also recently became a “superfood.”
Today many people are going on a gluten-free diet. If you’re in that situation then you should definitely consider quinoa. It doesn’t have a two-protein substance like wheat, barley, and rye. This is good news for people who can’t eat gluten because of reasons like immune system diseases or wheat allergy.
In fact, this food technically isn’t a grain so it’s also a good option if you’re on a no-grain diet. These diets have been trending in recent years in various popular diets like Keto and Paleo.
What Exactly Is Quinoa?
First, it’s important to clear up the pronunciation. It’s pronounced like “keen-wa.” This food has become declared a superfood in recent years. That’s due to the high nutritional value of this food. It’s a “complete protein” with all 9 EAAs and is loaded with protein, vitamins/nutrients, and fiber.
South Americans have been eating quinoa for thousands of years. You’ll find different estimates ranging from about 3,000 to 7,000 years. People often refer to this food as whole grain when it’s actually a seed/cereal.
Quinoa has been popular in the region for a long time because of some basic reasons. It’s easy to prepare and chock-full of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants. This explains why it’s been a staple food for many Central/South American nations.
One of the big benefits of quinoa is the seed being high in nutrients. For example, it has 2x more protein versus barley and rice. You also get lots of vitamins/minerals like iron, phosphorous, and folate. You also get lots of EAAs that are needed every day.
Quinoa is especially good for vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians who eat limited or no animal products. It provides an excellent non-meat source of protein. This macro along with micronutrients like iron and zinc can be tough to consume when you don’t consume meat, eggs, and dairy.
Another big benefit of quinoa is that it’s easy to add it to your diet. For example, you can add it to meat/veggie dishes. You also add it to smoothies, yogurt, or salads. This helps to boost your protein source in an easy way since you won’t have to rely on other plant-based options like cooked rice.
As with other grains/seeds you should consider organic quinoa. This means no synthetic chemicals were used for the fertilizers/pesticides used to grow the plant, for example. Some natural foods aren’t organic.
How Many Grams of Protein in Quinoa?
Let’s look at the nutrition facts in 1 cup of Quinoa:
There are about 220 calories in one cup. This is a little over 10% of your total calories on a 2,000-calorie diet. This isn’t really a high amount since you’re getting high-nutrient calories. It’s a different situation than drinking a can of soda or eating a candy bar, for example. Consider all the nutrients you’re getting like protein, vitamins/minerals, etc.
There’s 39g of carbs in one cup of the plant-based food. That’s quite high on a 50g/day Keto diet, for example. If you’re going low-carb then quinoa isn’t the best choice. However, if you’re on other diets like carb cycling then the carbs can provide healthy energy boosts. Keep in mind these are “good carbs” that are chock-full of nutrients.
Quinoa is also a good source of protein. In this serving size, you’re getting over 8g of protein. This is quite high for any grain, seed or cereal. Take note you’re also getting all 9 EAAs you’re getting a good mix of different amino acids. Protein provides many health benefits including muscle building/repairing and workout recovery.
This is also a decent source of fats. You get about 3.5g of fats including about 0.5g of saturated fat. It’s not sky-high in healthy fats but is a decent source for seeds. Another plus is there’s no trans-fat, which is the unhealthiest type.
Quinoa is loaded with various nutrients including the daily values:
- Copper: 18% DV
- Folate: 19% DV
- Iron: 15% DV
- Magnesium: 30% DV
- Manganese: 30% DV
- Phosphorous: 28% DV
- Zinc: 13% zinc
It’s quite a nutrition profile for a seed. This helps to explain why it’s generally considered a superfood. Think about all the fiber, amino, fiber, and minerals/vitamins you get from one seed. It’s a game-changing food!
Top Basic Quinoa Recipes
1. Stuffed Bell Peppers
Fun Fact: Peppers are actually fruits since they have seeds. This recipe traditionally includes beef, rice, and tomatoes. You can also swap out the white rice and add a healthier ingredient: quinoa seeds. You have several options when picking recipes/ingredients. There’s a good chance you can find one with some of your all-time favorite healthy foods.
2. Breakfast bowl
This is a basic dish that includes quinoa, fresh fruits like blueberries, and other toppings. “Bowl” dishes are super easy to make and you can add a few of many ingredients. You can even make one serving if you want so there are no leftovers.
You can use quinoa for a wide range of different salads like kale. It pairs well with other greens like spinach and Romaine lettuce. You can then add a light/healthy dressing like vinaigrette to top off the healthy food. One of the plusses of raw veggie salads is the nutrients are reduced through high-temperature cooking.
This is a super-easy side dish that’s also super-healthy. Mushrooms and garlic are both loaded with antioxidants to help keep illness and disease away. A daily habit some people follow is eating raw garlic to boost their overall health.
5. Shrimp Spring Rolls
This is a healthier option than refined grains like rice noodles. You also get more protein and omega-3 fatty acids form the shrimp. Spring rolls are a good option for appetizers or side-dish and can be paired with many main dishes.
This is one of the most popular dinner recipes and is available in a wide range of options. For example, you can make an enchilada casserole that includes lots of full-fasting dairy products. There are many options that include different ingredients like meats and veggies after learning how many grams of protein in quinoa.