October 12, 2008

You Ask, I Answer: Quinoa Cookies

This weekend at a health food store I saw that a company called Andean Dreams sells quinoa cookies!

I have tried quinoa in the past and think it's bland.

If I was to snack on just one of these cookies a day (only 140 calories), would it count as a serving of quinoa?

-- Natalie (last name withheld)

Hackensack, NJ

That would certainly be convenient, wouldn't it?

I'm going to have to burst your bubble and tell you that no, two of these cookies don't come close to a serving of actual quinoa.

Let me explain why.

First up, the ingredient list:

"Organic Royal Quinoa flour, tapioca flour, rice flour, non-hydrogenated palm fruit oil, sugar cane juice, brown sugar, Quinoa pop grains, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), orange peel."

Although quinoa flour is a whole grain (offering approximately 4 grams of fiber per quarter cup), these cookies contain a mix of quinoa, tapioca, and rice flour.

Thus, they are technically "cookies made with quinoa flour" rather than "quinoa cookies," but that's marketing for you!

Notice, too, that there are two ingredients contributing sugar (sugar cane juice and brown sugar.)

Now, let's look at the nutrition facts.

Two cookies contain less than a gram of fiber, and a mere gram of protein.

Again, this is inferior to eating half a cup (one serving) of pure quinoa, which adds up to 3 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein.

Seeking healthy ingredients in otherwise nutritionally empty foods is exactly what many food companies want you to do.

I, however, would like you to enjoy a cookie because of its flavor, rather than a healthy ingredient that, as a result of either being heavily processed or mixed with refined grains and sugars, ends up contributing very little to the product's nutritional profile.

If you find quinoa bland, try topping it with sautéed vegetables or adding chopped walnuts and raisins to it.

If you find it bland after implementing those ideas, then just enjoy other whole grains.

Although quinoa offers plenty of nutrition, so do many other foods.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

There are so many good, non-bland ways to prepare quinoa, you should definitely give it another chance. Here are some from my other favorite blog, 101 Cookbooks: http://www.101cookbooks.com/ingredient/quinoa

I'm having Heather's Quinoa today for lunch. Yummy!