The nutritional superpowers of quinoa can help you secretly turn your kids into health nuts, mama. Here’s how!
The world has gone cuckoo for quinoa (“keen-wah”) and with good reason, too – this superfood which is actually a pseudo-cereal (a seed), not a grain, has major health benefits.
Quinoa is big on protein and fibre and high in minerals like iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. It contains plant antioxidants with numerous health benefits, is grain-free and gluten free. Plus it’s a complex carbohydrate with a low glycemic index (good for blood sugar control) and great for anyone avoiding white carbs like pasta, rice, and white bread. You may be sold on quinoa, but how do you get it into your kids if they are resisting this trendy superfood? Read on for our foodie columnist Beate’s tips on getting them hooked (plus check her out on Instagram for new restaurant sneak peaks and home cooked recipes)!
How to Cook Quinoa Right
Quinoa has a lovely nutty taste and if you sprout your quinoa (that is, soak it in water) it cooks up nice and fluffy, plus sprouting over 24 hours reduces the nutrient-leaching phytic acid. Whatever you do, remember to wash the quinoa well to remove the bitterness, then boil 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups water. Cover and reduce the heat to low, then simmer until tender and the ‘tails’ come out (roughly 15 minutes). Take off the heat, drain, return to pot and cover for 10 minutes then fluff up with a fork.
4 Easy Ways to Hide Quinoa Leftovers in Kids’ Food
The easiest way to sneak quinoa into little mouths that I have found is whack it in a blender with smoothie ingredients!
Superhero Kefir Quinoa Smoothie
- 2 frozen bananas chopped
- 3 heaped tablespoons cooked quinoa
- 2 cups kefir milk (or milk of your choice)
- honey to taste
- Blend all ingredients together, stick a pretty straw in and slurp!
Chocolate Quinoa Brownies (Gluten free)
This is the piece de resistance recipe (adapted from the Quinoa Queens) that even the most avid quinoa fiends will love….Chocolate Quinoa Brownies. Obviously don’t tell your kids there’s quinoa involved and they will be none the wiser. These are more crumbly and fluffily light than traditional brownies – in truth it’s more like chocolate sheet cake but we always get into a tongue tie saying that out loud – so brownies it is!
- 2 cups cooked cooled sprouted quinoa
- 1/3 cup milk (or substitute almond or coconut milk)
- 4 whole eggs
- 1/2 cup butter
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- ¾ cup caster sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (brings out sweetness and helps digestion)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric (great health benefits – I throw turmeric into everything I can!)
- Pinch salt
- Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a brownie tin.
- In a food processor combine the wet ingredients and quinoa until smooth.
- Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the food processor, blending again.
- Pour into prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes. Leave to cool on the counter before slicing.
- Hide white quinoa in sushi rice (a ratio of 1 to 3, of quinoa to rice works well) before you wrap your sushi rolls with your kids’ favourites like avocado, salmon and egg – this boosts the protein in your kids’ lunchbox.
- Similarly you can use this ratio of quinoa to rice in fried rice or even substitute all the rice with quinoa.
Plum Quinoa Pudding – Egg free, Gluten free, Dairy Free
This pudding is comforting and creamy – a delicious healthy breakfast or superhero dessert.
- 1 cup well cooked, cooled quinoa
- 1 and ½ cup full fat coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons honey (or to taste)
- Dash of cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons white chia seeds (hydrated with 6 tablespoons warm water for 15 minutes)
- 6 ripe plums chopped (or substitute your favourite fresh fruit; mixed berries, peach or banana work well.)
- Heat all the ingredients (except chia) in a medium saucepan until simmering. Lower heat and stir until warmed through (5 minutes).
- Take off the heat and mix in the chia seeds. Serve warm, topped with more fruit and coconut yoghurt.