When combined with exercise, a healthy diet can help you lose weight, lower your cholesterol level, and improve the way your body functions on a daily basis. People of different ages and activity levels have different calorie needs.
I enjoy cooking with quinoa, lentils, farro and bulgur. I am constantly learning important food facts for smart nutrition choices. I closely watch my cholesterol by avoiding animal protein.
Quinoa: has 8g of protein per cup, it is a complete protein, which means it has all the essential amino acid your body needs. It is moderate in calories, 220 per cup. It has a good amount of B vitamins especially the folate, and has minerals like magnesium and manganese. Quinoa has 5g of fiber per cup. It is a relative of spinach, beets and chard. The part we eat is actually the seed, cooked like rice, which is why quinoa is gluten-free.
Lentils: have 18g of protein per cup. In your meal combine lentils with rice, oats, wheat, rye and corn, to provide a complete protein. By adding some type of nuts to lentils this will also provide a complete protein. Lentils are a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K, but are particularly rich in dietary fiber, lean protein, folate and iron.
Bulgur: has 6g of protein per cup. Bulgar has less calories, 150 per cup than quinoa. Bulgar has vitamin E, B and 8g of fiber. Bulgur is made by soaking and cooking the whole wheat kernel, drying it and then removing part of the bran.
Farro: has 14g of protein per cup. A cup of farro contains 340 calories. A cup of cooked farro contains 10 grams of fiber. Fiber is an essential nutrient that keeps your digestive system working properly and can reduce your risk of heart problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
If you are watching calories, and looking for weight loss, bulgur may be a better option for you. A cup of cooked farro contains about 2 grams of fat, compared to the less than 0.5 gram of fat in a cup of cooked bulgur.
For a gluten free diet eat bulgur. If you are looking for maximizing your vitamins and minerals intake, you should go for quinoa.
All the choices above are nutritious choices. Remember portion size is always important.