Blasting belly fat with quinoa

Break­fast quinoa can be pre­pared ahead of time.

With all the gad­gets and giz­mos avail­able that prom­ise six-pack abs, you might think we should be a na­tion of strap­ping Ad­on­ises. However, the cur­rent U.S. obesity epi­dem­ic would in­dic­ate oth­er­wise. Steph­en Ball, Uni­versity of Mis­souri Ex­ten­sion ex­er­cise physiolo­gist, says sit-ups and crunches will tight­en your ab­dom­in­al muscles, but you will still have the same lay­er of fat sit­ting on top of those muscles.

“Ex­er­cise equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers mis­lead us with flashy in­fomer­cials show­ing beer bel­lies trans­form­ing in­to defined mid­riffs with the use of simple devices … usu­ally in just minutes a day!” Ball said. 

Aer­obic ex­er­cises like bi­cyc­ling, jog­ging or run­ning are the best way to lose body fat, Ball says. These ex­er­cises raise your heart rate and cause your body to draw upon its fat stores for en­ergy. The places where the body stores fat can af­fect health, Ball says. Ex­er­cise, and a sens­ible diet, will help shrink those prob­lem spots over time.

Bot­tom line, there is no device or ma­gic bul­let for get­ting in­to shape. Ac­cord­ing to Ball, a com­bin­a­tion of strength ex­er­cises, aer­obic ex­er­cise and a sens­ible diet will, over time, put you on the road to health and fit­ness. 

In­clude these belly-fat busters in­to a sens­ible diet:

Eggs: They not only keep you sat­is­fied longer, they also help you con­sume few­er cal­or­ies all day long due to their high pro­tein (about six grams per egg) and the healthy fat in the yolk. Or­gan­ic eggs are high in omega-3s. When you com­bine omega-3s with ex­er­cise, stud­ies have shown you can de­crease ab­dom­in­al fat.

Al­mond milk: One cup of plain, un­sweetened al­mond milk has 35 to 40 cal­or­ies; a cup of skim milk has 90. It also con­tains no sug­ar and is for­ti­fied with cal­ci­um and vit­am­in D. Al­mond milk is avail­able in a vari­ety of fla­vors, in­clud­ing dark chocol­ate and vanilla.

Chia seeds: These power-packed seeds help to lower blood sug­ar, re­duce hun­ger and are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

  Blue­ber­ries: Ber­ries are high in fiber and lower in sug­ar than oth­er fruits, so they help keep blood sug­ar from spik­ing. Blue­ber­ries in par­tic­u­lar help melt fat.

  Grapefruit: Dur­ing a re­cent study, when obese adults on a cal­or­ie-re­stric­ted diet con­sumed either half a grapefruit, half a cup of 100 per­cent grapefruit juice or half a cup of wa­ter be­fore their three daily meals for 12 weeks, they sig­ni­fic­antly de­creased weight and waist cir­cum­fer­ence, drop­ping an av­er­age of 15 pounds per per­son.

Quinoa (pro­nounced KEEN-wah): This whole grain from Peru is a plant seed re­lated to spin­ach that’s packed with fiber and pro­tein to help keep you slim. 

My re­cipe for Quinoa with Cin­na­mon and Fruit is a great way to start the day, will keep hun­ger at bay and helps to blast belly fat!

(Ad­di­tion­al in­form­a­tion provided by Steph­en D. Ball, State Spe­cial­ist and As­so­ci­ate Pro­fess­or, Nu­tri­tion and Ex­er­cise Physiology, Uni­versity of Mis­souri.)

Quinoa with Fruit and Cin­na­mon


Quinoa is simple and easy to cook, like rice. In fact, you can cook quinoa in a rice cook­er. Break­fast quinoa can be pre­pared ahead, covered and re­fri­ger­ated for sev­er­al days. To re­heat, add some more al­mond milk and warm it in the mi­crowave.

2 cups quinoa

4 cups al­mond milk, plain or vanilla

2 or 3 cin­na­mon sticks or 1-1/2 tea­spoons cin­na­mon

1/4 cup plus 2 ta­ble­spoons agave syr­up, honey or brown sug­ar

1 tea­spoon vanilla or al­mond ex­tract

1/8 tea­spoon salt

Top­pings: Toasted nuts or coconut, fresh or dried fruit, nut but­ters, chia or flax seeds

1. Cov­er quinoa with cool wa­ter and soak for 5 minutes in a 4-quart pot. Soak­ing helps quinoa to cook evenly and loosens any dust, chaff or sapon­in (usu­ally re­moved in pro­cessing), which can give the quinoa a bit­ter taste. Pour the quinoa in­to a fine mesh strain­er and rinse un­der cool, run­ning wa­ter while stir­ring the quinoa with your fin­gers. Shake the strain­er to re­move any wa­ter. Set quinoa aside.

2. Place milk and cin­na­mon (sticks or ground) in sauce­pan over me­di­um-high heat and bring to a boil. Watch care­fully as the milk can bubble up quickly and scorch. Stir in the strained quinoa and re­turn to boil. Cov­er and re­duce heat to low. Let quinoa and milk sim­mer about 10 minutes. Stir in sug­ar, vanilla or al­mond ex­tract and a pinch of salt. Cov­er and con­tin­ue to sim­mer un­til all the milk is ab­sorbed, an­oth­er 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Re­move quinoa from heat and al­low it to sit five minutes with lid on. Fluff quinoa gently with a fork and serve with milk, fruit, nuts, chia or flax seeds, or whatever top­pings you like, and serve im­me­di­ately. Makes 4 servings. ••

  An­gela Shelf Medear­is is an award-win­ning chil­dren’s au­thor, culin­ary his­tor­i­an and au­thor of sev­en cook­books. Her new cook­book is “The Kit­chen Diva’s Dia­bet­ic Cook­book.” Her Web site is www.di­

To see how-to videos, re­cipes and much, much more, Like An­gela Shelf Medear­is, The Kit­chen Diva!, on Face­book and go to

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