Saturday, April 21, 2012

Whole Foods Challenge Recipe // Quinoa Berry Salad

I am finishing up the first week of my 28 Day Whole Foods Challenge and so far I am enjoying it. It is a challenge though!

It's amazing how much less calories I am taking in by eating this way. I was struggling to eat enough! For a few days I was battling hunger as well as fatigue throughout the entire day. Interestingly, this was not the same as experiencing sugar spikes and crashes, probably because the foods I'm eating are more nutritious. The fatigue seemed to be more of a withdrawal symptom...or perhaps because I haven't been exercising as much the past few weeks.

I'm now in a routine of eating breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and sometimes another snack. (I sound like a hobbit from LOTR, don't I?) And I still lost 3 pounds this week! That was totally unintentional. I am sure there is more to learn about balancing my nutrients so I feel satiated longer. However, I also know that eating small and often is great for metabolism. I will just have to find a balance that works for me.
The other challenging aspect was figuring out WHAT to eat. I realized that even though I had good intentions to eat whole foods (before starting the challenge) I was cheating a lot. What seems like a little bit here and there definitely adds up. So this week I tried a couple of new and easy recipes.

My favorite was this Quinoa Berry Salad. Perfect for the onset of summer, packed with protein, sweet, tangy and nutty – it’s a whole meal in one. 

Quinoa Berry Salad
1/2 cup dry quinoa
1 pint strawberries, sliced (2.5-3 cups)
16 oz. fresh blueberries (1.5-2 cups)
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Pinch of kosher salt                                   
1/2 cup almonds sliced

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
2. Chop the fruit and place in a large bowl.
3. Mix the dressing ingredients (maple syrup, balsamic, lemon juice, salt) in a small jar and adjust to taste if necessary.
4. Fluff cooked quinoa with a fork and add to large bowl with fruit. Combine. Pour on dressing and mix well. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge until serving time.
Serves 2-3 as a main or 4-6 as a side. 

I always tweak my recipes. The original (found here) had cherries in it as well. Enjoy!


Tracey C. said... Reply to Comment

I've been wanting to try quinoa, so maybe this is the recipe for me! Thanks for sharing. Did you use honey or maple syrup? I see both listed. Also did you get your quinoa on bulk somewhere or per-packaged? Thanks!

Valerie said... Reply to Comment

@Tracey C.Hi Tracey! Yes, give quinoa a try! You can use it in everything. (As cereal, in casserole, sauteed with veggies...) I usually use it like rice (mixed with veggies or in a burrito), so this was my first time using it in a cold salad. It added a fun texture! I buy my quinoa from the bulk bins at Ward's. Oh and I used local raw honey, not maple syrup. I'm sure the syrup would taste good too though. Enjoy!