As a dietary nutritionist and cookbook author, I am passionate about creating and sharing my recipes. As someone who has battled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and chronic pain I know only too well how difficult it can be to prepare tasty, healthy meals, and yet, I know how important it is to eat a healthy balanced diet. Incorporating foods that Mother Nature intended us to eat is key to maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle.

Fresh Quinoa Salad from Shirley Plant via Yummly

One of my favorite go to foods is quinoa , pronounced “keen-wa”. It's tiny seed belonging to the goosefoot family, which also includes spinach and beets. It was the main staple food for the Incas thousands of years ago and is now a common organic crop that is grown in Canada and the United States.

Healthy Quinoa Salad from Shirley Plant

Similar to rice you use 2 cups water to 1 cup of quinoa, and it takes only 20 minutes to cook! On top of that, quinoa contains all the eight essential amino acids that make up a protein, so vegetarians would do well to incorporate quinoa into their diet. It's also very versatile and can be added to soups, stews, ground down into flour to make cookies, pancakes and muffins, and is gluten free.

Healthy Quinoa Salad from Shirley Plant via Yummly

By eating one cup of quinoa you will consume:

  • 220 calories (70 percent carbs, 15 percent fat, 15 percent protein)
  • 40 grams of carbohydrates (13 percent daily value)
  • 8 grams of protein (16 percent of daily value)
  • 3.5 grams of fat (5 percent daily value with no saturated fat)
  • A glycemic load of only 18 out of 250
  • 5 grams of fibre (20 percent of daily value)
  • 20 percent of daily value of folate (various forms of Vitamin B)
  • 30 percent of magnesium daily value; 28 percent daily value of phosphorous; iron (15 percent); copper (18 percent); and manganese (almost 60 percent)

Shirley Plant is the author of "Finally... Food I Can Eat", a dietary guide and cookbook for people with food allergies. Through Delicious Alternatives she helps people plan healthy, tasty dietary menu plans within the confines of their dietary restrictions.

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